Presidency Should Return To South In 2023 – El-Rufai

A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

 

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai on Saturday said the Presidency should be zoned the south in 2023.

He made the remarks during an interview with BBC Hausa, adding that he has not coveted the title of President as believed in some quarters.

“It has been said that I have loved the presidency since I was a minister in the FCT [Federal Capital Territory]. This is nonsense. I do not want the Nigerian presidency. God gives power, whether you like it or not. If he wants, he will give it to you. But I have never applied for the presidency of Nigeria, no one will say I have applied for it,” El-Rufai said.

“In Nigerian politics, there is a rotation system, where everyone agrees that if the north rules for eight years, the south will rule for eight years.”

He said although the acceptance process was not written in the constitution, every politician in the country was aware of it.

“That is why I came out and said that after President Buhari’s eight-years term, no northerner should run for the Presidency. Let the southerners also have eight years.”

El-Rufai’s state, Kaduna has recently been riddled with violence, especially in the South, but the Governor said the outrage over the security situation is being fuelled by people manipulating it for political, religious and ethnic gains.

He noted that the security situation in the state was stable due to security measures he was taking.

Presidency: Mamman Daura’s Comments On Zoning Do Not Reflect Buhari’s Opinion

This combination photo shows Mamman Daura (L) and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

 

 

Comments made by Mamman Daura about zoning, during a recent radio interview, do not “in any way” reflect the views of President Muhammadu Buhari, according to the Presidency.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), said in a statement on Saturday that the views Mr Daura expressed during the interview with the BBC Hausa Service were “personal to him.”

“We have received numerous requests for comments on the interview granted by Malam Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew to the BBC Hausa Service.

“It is important that we state from the onset that as mentioned by the interviewee, the views expressed were personal to him and did not, in any way, reflect that of either the President or his administration.”

In the interview, which aired during the week, Mr Daura told the BBC Hausa Service that rotational leadership has failed the country and there is a need to now look “for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere”.

READ ALSO: Edo Election: Chief Imam Of Benin City, Enabulele Endorses Obaseki

The Presidency believes the comments, which drew strong criticism from several people including groups such as Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere, were taken out of context.

“At age 80, and having served as editor and managing director of one of this country’s most influential newspapers, the New Nigerian, certainly, Malam Mamman qualifies as an elder statesman with a national duty to hold perspectives and disseminate them as guaranteed under our constitution and laws of the land. He does not need the permission or clearance of anyone to exercise this right,” the Presidency’s statement continued.

“In an attempt to circulate the content of the interview to a wider audience, the English translation clearly did no justice to the interview, which was granted in Hausa, and as a result, the context was mixed up and new meanings were introduced and/or not properly articulated.

“The issues discussed during the interview, centered around themes on how the country could birth an appropriate process of political dialogue, leading to an evaluation, assessment, and a democratic outcome that would serve the best interest of the average Nigerian irrespective of where they come from.

“These issues remain at the heart of our evolving and young democracy, and as a veteran journalist, scholar and statesman, Malam Mamman has seen enough to add his voice to those of many other participants.”

Niger Republic, Benin Owe Nigeria Up To N1.4bn For Electricity – Presidency

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu

 

Two of Nigeria’s closest neighbours, Benin and Niger owe the country up to N1.4bn, the Presidency revealed on Tuesday.

In a statement, signed by spokesman Garba Shehu, addressing a report questioning why the nation was exporting electricity to neighbouring countries on credit – while blackouts persist nationwide – the Presidency noted that, as at 2019, the debt owed by four countries totalled $69m.

“As of the last review in 2019, the amount of indebtedness to all three customers stood at $69 million, subsequent upon which several payments were made to NBET,” the statement said. “Much of this has been repaid by the debtor nations.

READ ALSO: Akpabio Must Publish Names Of Lawmakers Who Got NDDC Contracts, Reps Insist

“As of today, Niger owes only USD 16 million and Benin, USD 4 million, adding up to the Naira equivalent of about N1.2bn.”

Why Nigeria Exports Power Despite Local Shortage?

The Presidency statement on Tuesday explained that the country exports power to neighbouring countries in respect of multilateral agreement that prevents the damming of water sources into the nation’s main hydropower stations.

“Power exported to Niger, Benin and Togo based on Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement with the Government of Nigeria is on the basis that they would not dam the waters that feed our major power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba,” the Presidency said.

“The essence of said bilateral agreements, by which we give them power and they do not build dams on the River Niger means that Nigeria and her brotherly neighbours had avoided the unfolding situation of the Nile River between the sovereign states of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.”

 

Why Nigeria Exports Electricity To Benin, Togo – Presidency

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu
A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.

 

The Presidency on Tuesday said Nigeria exports power to neighbouring countries in order to prevent the damming of water that feeds the nation’s major power plants.

On Monday, a Nigerian newspaper, Punch, had published a report describing how Nigeria has continued to export electricity to other countries on credit while blackouts persist within its borders.

As a response to the report, the Presidency, via a statement signed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu, described the report as “hyperbolic and terribly misleading.”

The Presidency said the newspaper’s credit figures were “far from accurate, out-dated and therefore not reflective of the current reality.”

It also added that over 90 percent of the electricity generated in the country was distributed and consumed by Nigerians.

The Presidency revealed that as of the last review in 2019, the amount of credit extended to Niger, Benin, and Togo stood at $69 million.

According to it, Niger owes $16 million and Benin, $4 million as of today, adding up to the naira equivalent of about N1.2 billion.

Read the full statement below:

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

PUNCH’S INACCURATE REPORTING ON THE SALE OF POWER TO NEIGHBORING NATIONS NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED

It is most disappointing that sensationalism has dominated the thinking and ethos of institutions that citizens look up to with trust, confidence and reliability. Monday edition of the Punch checks all the boxes in terms of an abject failure to honour these time-tested traditions with its news piece: “NIGERIA EXPORTS USD81.48bn ELECTRICITY ON CREDIT AS COUNTRY’S BLACKOUT PERSISTS,” is, to say the least, hyperbolic and terribly misleading.

Apart from the fact that the figure quoted is far from accurate, out-dated and therefore not reflective of the current reality, the overall cost of power generated and sold by Nigeria in the period covered by the report is not anywhere close to what was mentioned by the paper.

The actual cost of electricity generated within the said timeframe (2018-2019) by all the electricity generation companies in Nigeria was about N1.2 trillion ($4 billion).

Over 90% of the electricity generated was distributed and consumed by consumers across the 11 electricity distribution companies in the country.

Power exported to Niger, Benin and Togo based on Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement with the Government of Nigeria is on the basis that they would not dam the waters that feed our major power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba.

As of the last review in 2019, the amount of indebtedness to all three customers stood at $69 million, subsequent upon which several payments were made to NBET. Much of this has been repaid by the debtor nations.

As of today, Niger owes only USD 16 million and Benin, USD 4 million, adding up to the Naira equivalent of about N1.2bn.

The essence of said bilateral agreements, by which we give them power and they do not build dams on the River Niger means that Nigeria and her brotherly neighbours had avoided the unfolding situation of the Nile River between the sovereign states of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

In the future, we advise the newspaper to seek clarity from the market operator which is the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. This process of fact-checking only improves your standing in the public arena.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

July 28, 2020

Buhari Will Do What Is Best, Presidency Reacts To Call For Removal Of Service Chiefs

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

The Presidency has reacted to the call by the Senate asking for the sack or resignation of the Service Chiefs due to prolonged security challenges in the country.

In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina reiterated the position of the President saying the appointment or sack of Service Chiefs is a Presidential prerogative.

READ ALSO: Senate Asks Service Chiefs To Step Aside

He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times.

The Upper Chamber had called on Nigeria’s service chiefs to step aside as the country continues to grapple with security challenges.

The Senators made the call during plenary on Tuesday in reaction to a motion by Senator Ali Ndume.

Senator Ndume moved his motion on the back of the recent ambush of soldiers in Katsina and the alleged voluntary resignation of many soldiers.

According to the Senator, both developments and others are worrying.

A file photo of the service chiefs during a meeting with the President in Abuja.

Despite his concerns about the security situation, Senator Ndume did not call for the dismissal of the service chiefs, neither did he demand that they should step aside.

The call for them to step aside was made following an additional prayer to his motion in the course of deliberations.

Senator Francis Fadahunsi however made the call for the service chiefs to step aside as part of his contributions to the discourse on the motion.

Other senators okayed the move and passed the resolution for the service chiefs who have been in office since July 2015 to step aside.

The Senators also mandated a joint defence, army, navy, airforce, police and interior committee to engage with the military to ascertain the state of affairs of the armed forces.

Senate President Dismisses 2023 Presidential Ambition

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan,

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has dismissed nursing a 2023 presidential ambition at the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.

In a statement issued on Saturday by his spokesman, Ola Awoniyi, the Senate President described as puerile some media reports of him seeking to run for Nigeria’s presidency in three years’ time.

According to him, the reports reflects the “lazy fantasy of its unimaginative authors as a fact.”

Lawan’s reaction comes two days after he and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, met behind closed doors with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting is said to have centered on the recent controversy that arose between the National Assembly and the Minister of State, Labour, and Employment, Festus Keyamo, over the proposed 774,000 jobs.

READ ALSO: Arotile Killer Driver Had No Valid License – Military Sources

 

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

PRESS STATEMENT

The attention of the office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to a rather puerile media report that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, is making plans to run for president in 2023. The report was first published by the Daily Independent newspaper of Friday, 17th July 2020 and reproduced later by the Sahara Reporters.

It is easy to see that the report emanated from the sort of practice that drags the noble profession of journalism to the gutters as it only dresses up the lazy fantasy of its unimaginative authors as a fact.

The report apparently has its source in beer parlour gossips and should be treated with the contempt which it and those who concocted it deserves.

It is true that the Senate President was involved in the consultations that President Muhammadu Buhari held prior to the last emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC).

But there was nothing extra-ordinary in his involvement in such consultations, given his status as holder of one of the highest political offices in Nigeria and on the platform of the APC. Such is required of any concerned member of the party. It is therefore sheer mischief for anyone to read ulterior motives to the Senate President joining hands with the President and other leaders in resolving misunderstanding in their own party.

We will like to stress that the Senate President’s preoccupation is with advancing the agenda of the Ninth National Assembly to focus governance on the pursuit of the best interests of the Nigerian people and to support President Buhari in delivering his promises to Nigerians.

The Senate President does not suffer such needless distractions as imputed by the false report under reference. He believes that it is premature for anybody to be talking now about 2023 when all hands should be on deck against the myriad of challenges that faces our nation in this period.

We advise the idle pseudo-journalists to look for other engagements and stop bastardising this noble profession.

 

Signed:

Ola Awoniyi

Special Adviser(Media) to President of the Senate

Saturday, 18th July, 2020

Magu’s Probe: No Better Indication That Anti-Corruption Fight Is Real And Active – Presidency

 

The Presidency has said that those who see the investigation of the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr Ibrahim Magu, as a signal that the fight against corruption is failing, have failed to see the point.

In a statement on Saturday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, noted that there couldn’t be a better indication that the anti-graft fight is real, than the will to openly investigate anyone who has been charged to head such systems.

“There is no better indication that the fight is real and active than the will to investigate allegations in an open and transparent manner against those who have been charged to be custodians of this very system,” the statement read in part.

According to Mr Garba, there are no sacred cows and even Mr Magu is not immune, regardless of the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by him, given the office he held, may appear for the government.

Read Also: Buhari Affirms Magu’s Suspension, Directs Mohammed Umar To Take Charge

He also noted that Mr Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him.

“This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the Laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty,” Garba said, adding that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever-evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor.

“As we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution,” the president’s aide added.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday affirmed the suspension of Mr Magu and it took effect immediately.

According to a statement from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the presidential directive was to allow for an unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.

Meanwhile, the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, has been directed to oversee the activities of the commission.

Read the full statement below.

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

PRESIDENCY STATEMENT ON THE SUSPENSION OF MR. IBRAHIM MAGU

A series of documented allegations were made against the Ag. Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Following a preliminary review of the allegations leveled against the Ag. Chairman and several other members of his staff, there were grounds for a detailed investigation to be conducted.

Hence, an investigative panel was constituted in compliance with the extant laws governing the convening of such a body.

As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the Chief Executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the Chief Executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent and unhindered investigation.

The EFCC does not revolve around the personality of an individual, and as such cannot be seen through the prism of any individual.

Therefore, the suspension of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head.

The EFCC has many good, hardworking men and women who are committed to its ideal and ensuring that the wealth of our country isn’t plundered and wherein there is an act of misappropriation such person(s) are brought to justice.

Meanwhile, Mr. Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him. This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the Laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty.

We must realize that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor; and as we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution.

What is however important is that there must be accountability and transparency and our people must realize that they would be held to account. This is the building block in the fight against corruption, the establishment of the concept of Accountability and the recognition of the Rule of Law.

Those who see Mr. Magu’s investigation, as a signal that the fight against corruption is failing, have unfortunately, missed the boat.

There is no better indication that the fight is real and active than the will to investigate allegations in an open and transparent manner against those who have been charged to be custodians of this very system.

Under this President and Government, this is our mantra and guiding principle. There are no sacred cows, and for those who think they have a halo over their heads, their days are also numbered.

Mr. Magu was not immune – and regardless of the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by him, given the office he held, may appear for the government.

No other administration in the history of Nigeria would have moved to bring into the light and public domain such an allegation.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
July 11, 2020

APC NEC Did Not Hold Meeting At FEC Chamber, Presidency Tells Critics

President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and others at the APC National Executive Council meeting held virtually from the Presidential Villa in Abuja on June 25, 2020. Photo: Tolani Alli.

 

 

The Presidency has taken a swipe at those criticising President Muhammadu Buhari for holding a political meeting in the chamber of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the State House in Abuja.

In a statement on Sunday, Mr Garba Shehu insisted that the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not take place at the chamber.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media Publicity stressed that although the meeting was virtual, President Buhari has the right to convene a meeting in any part of the Presidential Villa.

He said, “It is necessary that we put records in their correct perspective concerning the recent meeting held by the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which has, unfortunately, drawn criticism due to lack of understanding.

“The stubborn opinion held by the critics of the administration is that President Muhammadu Buhari had called a political meeting in the “hallowed” chamber of the Federal Executive Council, as if there is a law that says the President is barred from holding meetings in certain sections of the vast Presidential Villa.”

“Since the President lives in the Villa, no one can, legally speaking, choose or dictate to him where he can sit to hold meetings. So, what is wrong in the President presenting himself before a camera and a TV screen in a digital conference at a given location within the Villa?

“Just for the sake of the argument, this meeting, we say emphatically, was not convened at the Council Chamber. It was virtual, not a physical meeting,” Shehu stated.

He explained that the meeting held virtually to observe social distancing in view of health concerns, noting that the conference hall of the party was small to accommodate all the participants.

According to Shehu, President Buhari is billed to address the meeting from one of his offices and he chose the Council Chamber where the digital facilities are located.

He added that most of the NEC members, state party leaders, and members of the National Assembly were all linked through video conference calls.

The President’s aide, however, said, “Yes, it is true that governors and leaders of the National Assembly joined the President from the chamber from where he spoke; but the larger body of the members in attendance were all connected via video calls.

“Do not forget that these are not the normal times in view of the COVID-19 circumstances in which we have found ourselves. President Buhari placed health and safety above courtesy to the party by not going to its headquarters.”

Shehu insisted that the President made a wise decision because he wanted to curtail the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The APC NEC meeting had sparked criticism from various individuals and groups, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a statement on Friday, the opposition party accused President Buhari of violating his oath of office by using the FEC Chambers and government resources to conduct the affairs of his party.

It described the meeting as “shameful” and “a further manifestation of the level of impunity” by the present administration.

No Govt. Has Done More For Democracy, Freedom Of Speech Than Buhari Administration – Presidency

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu
A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu

 

The Presidency on Tuesday said no other government has done more for democracy and freedom of speech than the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

In a press release signed by spokesman Garba Shehu, the Presidency said the Buhari administration’s tolerance for divergent views has opened it up to “puerile” attacks.

The release was addressed to ‘The Coalition of Northern Groups” which had reportedly disassociated itself from the nation’s “Democracy Day”.

“Nigeria recognises Democracy Day because for many decades since independence, the fight for the right for Nigerians to choose their own government in their own name was not complete,” the statement read in part. “A prominent citizen of the country, Chief MKO Abiola died trying to do just this.

The statement continued: “Yet when groups such as the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) put out statements claiming that Democracy Day holds no purpose and the government somehow wishes for the northern states to be struggling it is embarrassing not for the government but for the group, its members and their sponsors.

“For a start, if the group dared to issue such a comment under non-democratic method they would have met a swift and harsh retribution from a dictatorial government. They should thank their stars that we are operating a truly democratic government where the rights of free speech are guaranteed and protected.”

 

Read the full statement below:

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

THE COALITION OF NORTHERN GROUPS SHOULD EMBRACE DEMOCRACY

The future, it is often said, belongs to the youth.

For as many times as he met youth leaders, President Buhari has said to them again and again that we are fixing the ailing state to hand it over to you.

It then amounts to a grave mistake, for this group of otherwise promising northern stars to dissociate themselves from Democracy Day and, in effect de-cognizing democracy as a chosen system of government.

Nigeria recognises Democracy Day because for many decades since independence, the fight for the right for Nigerians to choose their own government in their own name was not complete. A prominent citizen of the country, Chief MKO Abiola died trying to do just this.

When independence was won, and then swiftly replaced by unelected government, it was not much of a change.

For the challenges Nigeria faces today, lack of universal suffrage or lack of elected politicians is not one of them.

We are facing severe hardships because of the coronavirus pandemic. And we continue to face the challenges posed by the terrorists Boko Haram.

Yet when groups such as the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) put out statements claiming that Democracy Day holds no purpose and the government somehow wishes for the northern states to be struggling it is embarrassing not for the government but for the group, its members and their sponsors.

For a start, if the group dared to issue such a comment under non-democratic method they would have met a swift and harsh retribution from a dictatorial government. They should thank their stars that we are operating a truly democratic government where the rights of free speech are guaranteed and protected.

This government has done more than any other – elected or not elected – to curtail and beat back the terrorists.

Similarly, no government has done more to foster democracy and freedom of speech in Nigeria than the current administration.

The fact that CNG is freely able to transmit garbage to the media in the hope they will be widely reported is a testament the freedom of expression and media liberty that exists in our country today.

Equally, the fact that the government is issuing this statement, in response to the puerile message is a testament that today Nigeria is a country where disagreements can be aired publicly through the press, not through less gentlemanly methods used in the past.

We hope that CNG will consider the facts and reconsider the unhelpful and inaccurate message their statements contain when issuing them in the future.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

June 16, 2020

signed by spokesman Garba Shehu,

Presidency Slams Northern Elders Forum Over Comments On Insecurity

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

 

The Presidency has taken a swipe at the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) over its comments on the nation’s security challenges.

In a statement on Sunday, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, accused the group of being political in its activities.

The group had said that the insecurity in some Northern states of the country was an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors of those states have lost control over the protection of the people.

It added in a statement by its coordinator, Ango Abdullahi, that President Buhari’s government has failed in its fight against bandits and Boko Haram insurgents.

According to the NEF, the people of the North are now completely at the mercy of armed gangs who wreak havoc at will in towns and villages, as a result of the recent escalation of attacks by bandits, rustlers, and insurgents.

In his response, Adesina believes the statement by the group is not strange and the Presidency’s position on what the group represents remains unchanged.

“A mere irritant and featherweight,” he said in the statement. “The former vice-chancellor signed the statement under the banner of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF). Hearing that title, you would think the body was a conglomeration of true elders.”

“But the truth is that NEF is just Ango Abdullahi, and Ango Abdullahi is NEF. It is a quasi-organisation that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a General without troops.

“Before the 2019 presidential election, the one-man army called NEF had shown its antipathy against President Buhari and its preference for another candidate. They all got beaten together,” he added.

The President’s aide insisted that the NEF was merely waving a flag at half-mast, stressing that its comments should be disregarded.

He, however, stated that President Buhari has steadily and steadfastly focused on the task of retooling Nigeria.

Presidency Accuses IPOB Of Discrediting Nigeria Internationally

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on May 28, 2017, supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) march through the Osusu district in Aba, Abia State. STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP

 

 

The Presidency has accused the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of working to discredit the Nigerian government internationally.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the allegation in a statement on Sunday.

According to him, the group is leading a campaign on ‘false allegations of persecution’ of Christians in the country.

Shehu alleged that IPOB was running two interconnected campaigns, using the cover of Christianity and calling for the appointment of a United States special envoy to stop the ‘genocide’  of Christians in Nigeria.

He added that the group began the campaigns in October 2019 which he said was being funded with monthly spending of $85,000.

The president’s spokesman, therefore, urged Nigerians and the international community to disregard such campaigns, insisted that they were aimed at destroying the good relationship Nigeria has with the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries.

Read the full statement below:

IPOB, SELF-PROCLAIMED JEWS, USING CHRISTIANITY TO WAGE WAR AGAINST THE NIGERIAN STATE

The Presidency wishes to draw the attention of all citizens and the international community to a most misleading campaign spearheaded by the so-called Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) using false allegations of persecution of Christians against the Nigerian State.

A very deep and wide investigation by an agency of the Nigerian government, working with international partners, has made us become aware that there are two, interconnected campaigns being run concurrently by the IPOB in this regard.

Both are using the cover of Christianity – and calling for a US Special Envoy to be appointed to stop the “genocide” of Christians in Nigeria. But the real purpose is to drive a wedge between the Nigerian government and its US and UK/European allies.

IPOB leadership of course self-proclaims as “Jewish,” a position not shared by the generality of the members.

For reasons of convenience, he claims to have an interest in the welfare of Christians – but this is a ruse: the case for independence, the leader believes, is strengthened by “proving” the government of Nigeria is “autocratic”, engaged in a “silent slaughter” of their own citizens along religious and ethnic lines – and that therefore the only viable option for the unique religious and ethnic minority is a sovereign Biafra separate from Nigeria.

Nigerians and the international community are advised to be wary of this divisive campaign, which available evidence shows is being funded with a monthly spending of $85,000 USD since October 2019, with no records of the source of this largesse.

The campaign consists of producing articles in the names of the alleged Christian NGOs’ leaders (of campaign groups created at the time this PR contract with a US lobbying firm was signed) and letters to and from members of Congress to the White House.

Unfortunately, some Members of Congress have clearly been persuaded there is indeed a “Christian persecution” underway in Nigeria – and do so quoting the campaign – and they are known to be taking up the case directly with the White House to appoint the special envoy.

The American charity secured a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and has made presentations to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

There is also a UK and European angle of the Campaign, which is more opaque than its US sister campaign – given there is less legal requirement for public filings – but what is known of this at the moment is that their Budget is sufficient to hire four PR firms in the UK, Belgium, France, and the US (the latter additional to the above).

They have founded an “NGO/Charity” and a linked web-based campaign named “Stop the Silent Slaughter” which is well designed and complete with video “evidence”-completely concocted.

Members of the alleged Christian NGO have had multiple Op-Ed articles in conservative news websites promulgating their message of a “Christian Genocide”. Some of those articles have also been used as “evidence” in the sister US campaign.

Two of those conservative news websites were co-founded by the owner of the UK PR firm they have hired to generate their publicity as well as an OP-Ed article in the name of a British MP who may have been convinced by their campaign under false pretences.

They have secured additional coverage in France, EU, and Germany.

They secured a MPs debate on the “Christian Genocide” in the House of Commons in which staff member of the UK PR was referenced as the “private secretary” to the leader of the UK-based Charity.

It is clear from all of the above that the IPOB’s extraordinarily and dubiously well-funded campaign in the US and UK/Europe is misusing the issue of the welfare of Christians purely to further their own political ends, and it seeks to damage inter-religious dialogue in Nigeria as well as to damage the international reputation of Nigeria.

Nigerians and the international community are hereby advised to ignore this campaign as they have disregarded similar past campaigns originated by this group which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian State.

International groups and societies are welcome to send representatives to Nigeria and give a lie to the false claims made by these terrorist groups who are duping them of their money and involving them in conduct and activities disguised to destroy the harmonious relationships existing between their home countries and Nigeria.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

June 7, 2020

Buhari Renews Akabueze’s Tenure As Budget Office DG

A file photo of the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Benjamin Akabueze. Photo: Twitter- @NGRPresident.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the renewal of the tenure of Mr Benjamin Akabueze as Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation.

The Presidency announced this in a tweet on Sunday.

 

According to the government, the Budget Office is currently undergoing several reforms under the leadership of Akabueze, towards improving effectiveness and efficiency.

It added that President Buhari gave the approval for an extension as a result of Akabueze’s track record of sterling performance and his achievements.

He was first appointed as a Special Adviser on Planning to the President in February 2016 before he was redeployed as the Director-General of the Budget Office after about four months.

His current tenure is scheduled to expire on June 10, 2020, and with the new development, Akabueze is expected to retain his position for another four years.

In 2000, Akabueze was elected as the Chief Executive Officer of NAL Bank Plc, a post he held until 2005 when the bank merged to become Sterling Bank Plc.

Two years later, he served as the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget in Lagos State until 2015.