President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to continue to defend the interest of Nigerians wherever they may be as the country ramps up efforts to evacuate citizens stranded after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President, Femi Adesina, quoted his principal as making this assertion on Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya at a Townhall Meeting with some Nigerians in the country.
According to the president, “on our part as a Government, we shall continue to defend the interests of all Nigerians wherever they may be. We have demonstrated this over time, as we have had cause to evacuate our citizens in harm’s way abroad.
“We did it in Libya, South Africa and we have just commenced doing the same in Ukraine, where thousands of our citizens, especially students, are trapped by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.”
President Buhari, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, stated the continuous determination of the current administration to forge a partnership with the ‘Ambassadors-at Large’ towards building the country together that led to the establishment of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
Also present at the occasion were the Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor; National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen Babagana Monguno, and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
He commended the diasporans in Kenya for being united, and at peace with their host communities, urging them to respect the laws and be good ambassadors of Nigeria. Buhari also expressed delight at the commission’s engagement of the diasporans and the establishment of a programme that would appeal to them.
“We expect your willingness to ‘give back to Nigeria, some of your resources, talents, skills and global exposure in the development of our great country, Nigeria,” he told them.
Buhari encouraged the ambassadors to key into the programmes of NiDCOM especially the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust Fund whose mandate is holistic for Nigerians abroad adding that the platform would assist them to expeditiously contribute to the development of their fatherland.
President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said Nigeria will continue to pursue peace and progress in Africa, and other parts of the world, by consistently pushing for justice, fairness, and inclusiveness in global affairs.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
President Buhari in a sideline meeting with the Prime Minister of Palestine, Mohammad Shtayyeh, at the ongoing African Union meetings said the country remains unwavering in supporting democracy, development, and good governance, particularly in ensuring the rights of individuals and institutions.
“Today rice production in Nigeria has increased to over 7.5 million metric tons annually. Prior to the introduction of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (APB), the average production in Nigeria between 1999 to 2015 was less than 4 metric tons annually.
“I am aware that the bags of paddy will be moving straight from here to rice milling plants across Nigeria, which lead to the release of processed rice to the markets by the rice millers. The measure will aid our efforts at reducing the price of rice in Nigeria.
“Before this administration launched the ABP, there were only 15 standard Rice mills in Nigeria. As at today, we have over 50 Standard and integrated Rice mills creating jobs and reducing unemployment. We expect additional significant output when two new mills are started in Lagos and Katsina,’’ he said.
According to President Buhari, the country can boast of producing over 7.5 million metric tons of rice annually, with over four million farmers benefiting from the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
“The significance of today’s occasion can be better understood by looking at the various economic strides the administration has achieved through agriculture.
“When we assumed the reins of leadership of this country in 2015, the administration identified the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme as an essential policy instrument for achieving economic diversification through agriculture.”
Speaking further on the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme he said the rice pyramids are a testament to his administration’s efforts to increase food production. He added that the commissioning of the rice pyramids was an indication that the country was making steady and assured progress towards self-sufficiency in food production.
“Fellow Nigerians, our gathering here today, is no doubt a testament to the fact that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is working. Indeed, these sky-high pyramids which we are gathered here to commission are part of our commitment to achieving national food security and economic diversification through home-grown policies targeted at securing food for all Nigerians.
“As a critical policy of the government, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is expected to catalyze the agricultural productive base of the nation, which is a major part of our economic plan to uplift the economy, create jobs, reduce reliance on imported food and industrial raw materials, and conserve foreign exchange.
“In the implementation of the Programme, adoption of high-yielding seedlings, quality inputs and best farming practices were essential features.
“For instance, the improved rice seedlings have helped to ensure our achievement of rice sufficiency, as they are disease-resistant and have an average yield of about 5 metric tonnes per hectare, compared with the traditional national average of 1.5 metric tonnes.
“This has resulted in bridging our rice consumption gap, a significant reduction in rice imports, and saved us foreign exchange,’’ he added.
President Buhari commended the Central Bank of Nigeria for its efforts at resuscitating the Nigerian Commodity Exchange following approval to do so.
This, he said, had been done in the hope that farmers can have ready buyers of their produce, thereby resolving the current logistical challenge of moving their produce from farm to markets.
“Let me also commend the Governor and staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as well as the leadership of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria for the successful delivery of these pyramids, which hopefully is just the first of many that will be unveiled this year across Nigeria,’’ the President added.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, commended President Buhari’s outstanding resolve on food security for the country, unveiling the single largest rice pyramid in history,
According to the CBN Governor, taking a cue from the success of rice production, the financial regulatory body had commenced the wheat value chain, which produces five to six million tonnes each year.
President of RIFAN, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, said more than 99 per cent of the paddy rice for the year was already with farmers across the nation, while the bags in 13 pyramids will be sold to further ease and augment production.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has said his country will use the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Nigeria to promote a strategic partnership to new heights.
This is according to a statement by Femi Adesina, the special media adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Adesina, President Xi disclosed his intentions in a letter addressed to the Nigerian leader on Friday.
“Nigeria is an important strategic partner of China in Africa. China-Nigeria cooperation has been the pacesetter of China-Africa cooperation,’’ the Chinese President is said to have written in his piece to President Buhari.
President Xi’s letter is said to be an appreciation of Buhari’s congratulatory letter on the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which came up on October 1.
The Chinese leader said he attached great importance to the development of China-Nigeria relations and assured President Buhari that his country would spare no effort in strengthening existing relations.
President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly, seeking approval to borrow the sum of $4,054,476,863 billion and €710 million.
The request was made known in a letter read by Senate President Ahmad Lawan at plenary on Tuesday.
In the letter titled Addendum to Request For Senate’s Concurrent Approval Of Multilateral Fund Projects Under the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan, President Buhari explained that owing to “emerging needs”, there is a need to raise more funds for some “critical projects”.
“The projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Plan, are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), China-Exim Bank, International Fund For Agriculture Development (IFAD), Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE) in the total sum of USD4,054,476,863.00 plus Euro 710, 000,000.00 grant component of USD 125,000,000.00”.
A copy of the letter signed by President Buhari
This is not the first time President Buhari is writing to the National Assembly to request approval for external loans this year.
In May, he requested the sum of N2.343 trillion which according to him, was meant to part-finance the budget deficit of N5.602 trillion in the 2021 budget.
“As practising believers, we shouldn’t seek obscene profits by making life difficult and miserable for others. We should not seek happiness at the expense of others. Remember that Islam is a religion of charity that urges us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.
“I urge all Muslims to continue to live in peace and harmony with their fellow Nigerians of other faiths in the spirit of peaceful coexistence. Let us pray for the progress of Nigeria at all times. Let us expose undesirable elements among us who are creating security problems for the country.”
President Buhari restated the determination of his administration to create a just, harmonious and prosperous country in which the safety of life and property is assured.
Reflecting on current challenges facing the country, the President states that “COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the economies of all countries, including Nigeria, in addition to the fact that floods have caused large scale destruction to agricultural farmlands, thereby impacting negatively on our efforts to boost local production in line with our policy to drastically reduce food importation.”
This, he explained, has led to food inflation which the government is working hard to address.
According to President Buhari, “no government in our recent history has invested as heavily as we are doing to promote local production of about 20 other commodities, through the provision of loans and several other forms of support to our farmers.”
He said, “apart from the destruction caused to rice farms by floods, middlemen have also taken advantage of the local rice production to exploit fellow Nigerians, thereby undermining our goal of supporting local food production at affordable prices.
“As an elected president who enjoys the goodwill of the ordinary people that gave us their mandate, let me assure you that we are continuing with measures to bring relief to Nigerians, including making fertilizer available at affordable prices to our farmers,” he tells Nigerians.
The President also noted that the current insecurity in the country “has produced severe and adverse effects on agriculture because farmers are prevented from accessing their farms by bandits and terrorists.”
He, however, reassured Nigerians that his administration is taking measures to address security challenges and the country have started taking delivery of fighter aircraft and other necessary military equipment and hardware to improve the capacity of our security forces to confront terrorism and banditry.
President Muhammadu Buhari has reflected on the complexities of the Nigerian condition, concluding that neither ethnicity nor religion was to blame, “but we ourselves,” for inherent injustices.
The President spoke recently while receiving members of the Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo (MBO) Dynamic Support Group, who visited State House, Abuja, to present a compendium of five years achievements of the administration.
“Our problem is not ethnicity or religion, it is ourselves,” the President said.
President Buhari went into the trajectory of his struggles to get justice at the courts, after disputed results of presidential elections in 2003, 2007, and 2011, submitting that people who ruled against him were of his own ethnic stock and religious persuasion, while those who stood up for him were of other faiths and ethnicity.
His words: “After my third appearance in the Supreme Court, I came out to speak to those who were present then. I told them that from 2003, I’d spent 30 months in court.
“The President of the Court of Appeal, the first port of call for representation by presidential candidates then, was my classmate in secondary school in Katsina. We spent six years in the same class, Justice Umaru Abdullahi.
“My legal head was Chief Mike Ahamba, a Roman Catholic and an Ibo man. When the President of the court decided that we should present our case, my first witness was in the box.
“Ahamba insisted that a letter should be sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to present the register of constituencies in some of the States, to prove that what they announced was falsehood. It was documented.
“When they gave judgment, another Ibo man, the late Justice Nsofor, asked for the reaction from INEC to the letter sent to them. They just dismissed it. He then decided to write a minority judgment. That was after 27 months in court.
“We went to the Supreme Court. Who was the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN)? A Hausa-Fulani like me, from Zaria. The members of the panel went in for about 30 minutes, came back to say they were proceeding on break. They went for 3 months. When they came back, it didn’t take them 15 minutes, they dismissed us.
“In 2007, who was the CJN? Kutigi. Again, a Muslim from the North. After 8 months or so, he dismissed the case.
“Again in 2011, because I was so persistent, Musdafa, a Fulani man like me, from Jigawa, neighbor to my state, was CJN. He dismissed my case. I’ve taken you round this to prove that our problem is not ethnicity or religion. It is ourselves.
“I refused to give up. I had tried to wear Agbada after what happened to me in Khaki. Something was done to me because I did something to others. You know it. In the end, I myself was arrested, sent to detention, and they were given back what they had taken. I was there for three and a quarter years. This is Nigeria.
“I hope historians and intellectuals would document this because it is a fantastic state of political development. Let our grandchildren and great-grandchildren see how we came along. We didn’t get it as easy as other people think. Not because God has given us a great population and resources. We have suffered along the line.
“I try to mention these things because you got yourselves together, used your resources, energies without any input from me. I cannot thank you enough. I’m very grateful to you and to Nigerians because in 2019, I visited all the states, the people that turned out to see me across the country (because I’m dedicated to serve Nigeria and Nigerians), the love is genuine.
“Thank God that over the years, they can’t accuse me of corruption. And I’ve been everything; Governor, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Head of State, President, and in my second term. I thank you that nobody forced you, but you got together, used your energy, time, and resources, I thank you very much. I assure you, history will do you justice.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered security and intelligence agencies to hasten their moves to rescue the 200 children kidnapped from an Islamic school in Niger State.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made this known on Monday in a statement titled, ‘Expedite action towards release of school children, President Buhari urges law enforcement officials.’
He said President Buhari received a briefing on the latest incident of school kidnapping and condemned it.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the nation’s security and intelligence agencies to expedite efforts towards the recovery of the 200 children kidnapped from an Islamic school in Niger State,” the statement read in part.
He added that President Buhari urged all the agencies involved in the rescue operation to do their utmost in securing their immediate release.
The President also directed the concerned government agencies to extend possible support to the families of the kidnapped children.
Over 200 students were abducted by bandits in Tegina, Rafi Local Government on Sunday.
The Islamiyya school has three components comprising of Nursery, primary, and junior secondary school.
Niger Govt Takes Measures
Meanwhile, Niger State Government has assured that they are taking measures to ensure the release of the school children.
The state deputy governor, Ahmed Ketso while addressing journalists at the Government House said efforts are being put in place to identify the bandits.
Ketso said that though the numbers of the kidnapped school children is not fully ascertained, efforts by security agencies to secure their release have been intensified.
He said there are many government schools in Tegina but the government was proactive to have deboard the boarding schools and made sure every primary and Secondary school has the presence of security agents.
He assured that strategies are in place to secure the release of the abductees the same way those of Kagara boys were released ruling out the option of paying a ransom.
“We don’t pay ransom to abductors. We are trying to negotiate to see how we can bring them back safely,” he said.
He said that the government has made contact with some of the identified parents of the kidnapped children, assuring them of their safe return.
The presidency has alleged that popular Catholic cleric, Father Mbaka, who supported President Buhari but has now turned against him is angry because his request for contracts was ignored.
Father Mbaka, who supported Buhari in his first and second term elections, recently called on the National Assembly to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari if he failed to resign over rising insecurity in the country.
In its reaction on Friday, the presidency said Mr Mbaka recently “asked for contracts as compensation for his support.”
“An outsider distilling the avalanche of verbiage will be surprised that after supporting the President two times to win the Presidency, Father Mbaka has made a complete U-Turn, preposterously asking President Buhari to resign or be impeached.
“Here is the point of departure: Father Mbaka asked for a meeting and to the shock of Presidential Aides, he came accompanied by three contractors. The President graciously allowed them in, and to everyone’s surprise, Father Mbaka asked for contracts as compensation for his support,” the presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu said.
He added that, “Anyone familiar with President Buhari knows that he doesn’t break the laid down rules in dealing with contracts or any other government business for that matter. He requested the appropriate authorities to deal with the matter in accordance with laid down rules.
“Inside the Villa, discretion prevailed, that if those pictures and requests were made public, the followers will turn against the religious leader. None of it was released. Now, this is what is eating Father Mbaka.”
Father Mbaka was earlier reported to have called for President Buhari’s impeachment at a Church service, where he lamented the state of insecurity across the country and called on the presidency to address the numerous challenges facing the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he is happy to know that the abducted students of Government Science College in Kagara, Niger State have been released.
The President, in a statement issued on Saturday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, welcome the students’ release, commending the nation’s security and intelligence agencies and the government of Niger State for their responses in securing the release.
“We are happy they have been released,” Buhari said while sympathising with the staff and the students, their parents and friends on this ordeal.
He, however, warned that the country will not continue to suffer these attacks that threaten the growth of education, the security and life of the future leaders at the same time putting the nation in a negative light.
Buhari also reiterated his earlier advice to school owners, particularly the state and local governments, as well as religious organizations to scale up security around their schools in line with the standards laid down by the UN-backed Safe School Programme of the administration.
He once again condemned the school abductions, with the latest one at the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State.
The President also directed all security and intelligence agencies in the country to hunt down the culprits and bring them to justice.