Stop Official Cars For Everybody – Senate Chief Whip

senateSenate Chief Whip, Professor Olusola Adeyeye, believes members of the National Assembly and all government officials need to cut down on luxury in order to move Nigeria forward.

Prof. Adeyeye was on Channels Television’s Politics Today to discuss the presidential media chat held on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 and the national issues that were tackled by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Professor Adeyeye was full of praise for President Buhari’s honesty during the media chat, particularly in admitting that the government was not sure about the location and condition of the abducted Chibok girls.

“He spoke the truth. He did not try to over-sweeten the story as politicians would do, he was optimistic about the future but he also clearly made the nation know that there were problems ahead,” he said.

The APC Senator threw his weight behind the President’s war on terrorism and corruption, noting that these were problems he inherited and should be commended for fighting.

He stated that “terrorism is not an issue that is solved overnight” and that the circumstances in which the war had been sabotaged in the past have made it more difficult.

Prof. Adeyeye also recalled how he had been an advocate of transparency and prudence in government during the 7th Assembly but one of the issues that came up during the presidential media chat was the proposed allocation of funds for the purchase of official cars for members of the National Assembly in the 8th Assembly which he also belongs.

President Buhari had frowned at the purported allocation of over 40billion naira for this purpose and the Senator agreed with the President.

“If I was president of Nigeria today, honestly to the extent possible I will end official cars for everybody – from President to the level 8 officer.

“We once had a republic where our head of state rode a Peugeot 504 and gave us what he called ‘Operation Low Profile’. We must go back to that.

“A situation whereby we go through the streets of Abuja and everybody is riding SUVs, everybody is focusing on the senators because 109 of them are the ones who were elected. Ask yourself, ‘what type of cars are the ministers riding? What type of cars are the judges riding? What type of cars are the DGs of parastatals riding?’

“My official car right now as the Chief Whip of the Senate is not as good as what the DGs of many parastatals are riding.

“What we need to do is to say ‘regardless of your position, let’s go back to Operation Low Profile’,” the Senator said.

He insisted that the financial situation in Nigeria requires all citizens in government to make sacrifices.

“If we are going to correct this mess, we must correct it in every ministry, in every government department and across board.

Adeyeye, who represents Osun State in the Senate, commended President Buhari for his handling of other national issues during the presidential media chat.

Presidential Media Chat: Buhari Tackles Corruption, Economy, Security

Media ChatPresident Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, December 30, hosted his first presidential media chat since taking over on May 29, 2015.

The media chat, which was live on Channels Televison and other broadcast stations, saw the President fielding questions on a range of burning national issues from a panel of journalists.

Issues of security, the fight against corruption and the state of the economy dominated the conversation as the media panel, led by Channels TV’s Kayode Akintemi asked the President questions on efforts to defeat the Boko Haram sect, the rescue of the adopted Chibok schoolgirls, and the recent clash between soldiers and the Shiite Islamic sect.

President Buhari expressed satisfaction in the progress made by the Nigerian military, adding that the deadline given them had been largely met as the sect has been greatly reduced to suicide bombings of soft targets unlike their audacious attacks on military barracks, police posts, and government offices, taking territories in the process.

He condemned the continued use of teenage girls as suicide bombers and hinted that a ban on the use of hijab might be considered if the outfit continues to aid the suicide bombers as higher value has to be placed on the lives of Nigerians.

WATCH THE MEDIA CHAT HERE

The President also used the platform to defend areas of the 2016 budget that have been generating criticism in the media, explaining the rationale behind allocations to each sector of the economy.

He believes he is on the right track by making infrastructure the priority. He reiterated his administration’s determination to make steady power available to Nigeria as soon as possible.

According to President Buhari, “We need steady power, railway, roads so that local industry can develop” as this is the best way to develop the economy.

Corruption

On his determination to fight corruption, President Buhari insisted that he remained committed to the mission to see that looters of Nigeria’s wealth end up in the courts.

There had been some condemnation of the anti-corruption campaign with some Nigerians alleging that the President is biased but the President insisted that prosecution can only be based on evidences as he believes in facts.media chat

In response to insinuation that members of his cabinet might also be corrupt, he said, “I don’t think I picked anybody (as Minister) that I know will embarrass my government.

“If you have got any evidence about any of my Ministers I accept responsibility and you have the right as a Nigerian to take them to court.”

He promised that by the end of first quarter of 2016, his administration “will be kept busy informing Nigerians what progress has been made” in the fight against corruption.

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s recent ban on the use of Naira debit cards overseas also came to the fore as the panelists informed the President of Nigerians’ complaints of the hardship this has caused and the negative effects it is having on students, citizens seeking medical services and small business owners who engage in international trade.

President Buhari admitted that this new policy would indeed have some negative effects as he was also aware of some of the issues. He said that he expects the CBN to come up with some measures to reduce the hardship on Nigerians, especially those schooling or getting medical attention abroad.

The chat closed with President Buhari challenging the Nigerian media to engage in more investigative journalism as this would help the drive to change Nigeria for better.

The Presidential Media Chat has remained a major platform through which every past Nigerian president, beginning with the return of democracy in 1999, has kept Nigerians abreast of government’s activities.

Suspected Looters Will End Up In Courts – Buhari

Pmedia chatresident Buhari has said that his government will not spare treasury looters as he would ensure they end up in the courts.

He said this on Wednesday night during his maiden edition of the Presidential Media Chat.

The media chat, which was live on Channels Televison and other broadcast stations, saw the President fielding questions on a range of burning national issues from a panel of journalists.

He expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far in the efforts to recover stolen funds.

“I think we are doing quite well considering the circumstances”, he said.

“We have been lucky to find some documents where public funds were diverted into personal pockets, where Nigerian crude oil was lifted illegally and the proceeds were put into some personal accounts instead of the federal government account and of course we have started going to court.”

He expressed his expectation that the judiciary would see to the proper handling of the cases, noting that the government “cannot prejudge what the courts will do” as “we cannot determine issues while they are still in court”.

The President admitted that Nigerians are entitled to know the truth about the anti-corruption campaign but this is dependent on the courts. He,  however, assured Nigerians that monies have already been recovered and the details of the recovered funds and their sources would be made known.

He promised that by the end of first quarter of 2016, his administration “will be kept busy informing Nigerians what progress has been made” in the fight against corruption.

Allegations of Bias

There had been some condemnation of the anti-corruption campaign with some Nigerians alleging that the President is biased but the President insisted that prosecution can only be based on evidences as he believes in facts.

In response to insinuation that members of his cabinet might also be corrupt, he said, “I have been a democrat since April 2002. I don’t think I tolerate corruption, I don’t think I picked anybody (as Minister) that I know will embarrass my government.

“If you have got any evidence about any of my Ministers I accept responsibility for the 36 ministers I have – although I have 24 ministries.

“I think if you have got the facts, you have got the right as a Nigerian citizen to take them to court.”

President Buhari challenged the Nigerian media to engage in more investigative journalism as this would help the efforts to change Nigeria for better.

He also discussed issues of security, the fight against corruption and the state of the economy.

The Presidential Media Chat has been a major platform through which every past Nigerian president, beginning with the return of democracy in 1999, has kept Nigerians abreast of government’s activities.

No Reliable Intelligence On Chibok Girls’ Location, Condition – Buhari

Chibok GirlsPresident Muhammadu Buhari says that there is no reliable intelligence on the whereabouts and condition of the missing Chibok girls.

The President made the statement on Wednesday during his first Media Chat since he assumed office at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“There has been no firm intelligence where those girls are physical are and what condition they are in.

“What we believe from our intelligence, they kept on shifting them around so that they are not taken by surprise and get them (the Chibok girls) freed,” the President said when asked if the military and other security agencies have any information that confirmed if the girls were alive and in good condition.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces also disclosed that he was working with neighbouring countries including Niger Republic and Chad amongst others to ensure the release of the abducted girls.

He restated the Federal Government’s preparedness to negotiate the release of the girls, lamenting that they were yet to get a reliable leadership of the dreaded militant group.Chibok

“We are looking for a credible Boko Haram leadership that will convince us that the girls are alive. If any Boko Haram just comes out and say he is a leader and that he knows where the Chibok girls are, we cannot automatically believe him.

“We are still keeping our option open that if a credible leadership of Boko Haram can be established and they tell us where those girls are, we are prepared to negotiate with them without any condition.”

President Buhari said that the Federal Government can only negotiate with the sect when the credibility of the leadership of the terrorist group is been founded.

“Some (perceived) leaders of Boko Haram wanted to make contact but we insisted on establishing the bonafide of the ‘so called Boko Haram leadership’ before we can agree to negotiate with them on what terms will they release the girls to us so that we can take them to their parents and back to their school.

“We want to be sure that they are complete (209 I think) and that they are safe and sound, but what we have so far by attacking some of the locations, no Chibok girl has been recovered. They must have dispersed them all over the place,” the President said.

Buhari’s Media Chat To Focus On Current National Issues

buhariNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, will host his first Presidential Media Chat on Wednesday, December 30.

The programme will be broadcast live on the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.

In the course of the programme, President Buhari will answer questions from a panel of journalists on a broad-range of current national issues.

Part of the issues expected to be discussed are insecurity, counter-terrorism operations in the north-east and the economy among others.

A statement by a spokesman for the President, Femi Adesina, said that the Media Chat would begin at 7:0pm local time.

It is the first Media Chat that the President is having since he took over office on May 29, 2015.

Jonathan Says Abducted Chibok School Girls Will Be Rescued

Goodluck-Jonathan-Media-chatPresident Goodluck Jonathan has reassured the parents and guardians of the abducted girls of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok that the girls will be released, advising them to provide security agencies with reliable identity of the girls to aid the search.

President Goodluck Jonathan gave the assurance on Sunday during a Presidential Media Chat, where he discussed other issues of interest.

A latest report released by the Police puts the number of the abducted girls at 276. It also said that 53 female students had been rescued while 223 are still missing.

At the Presidential Chat, President Jonathan said that security personnel had been searching everywhere since the girls were abducted and that the search was hampered by the fact that they had no means of identification to enable them identify the girls easily.

He said that the military was making concerted efforts to secure the release of the girls.

“We need all information about the girls and we have been asking the parents or their guardians to assist us with their identity, passport of photographs but we are yet to get that. We have had an extended security and one thing I am assuring Nigerians is that we will get the abducted girls out wherever they are” President Jonathan said.

There have been series of protest across the country with a popular clause, “Bring Back Our Girls” and the President said that the protest was in the right direction, as it stressed the need for the ‘madness’ by the terrorist group, Boko Haram to come to an end.

“The girls’ disappearance will not be another mystery that the world cannot solve. The good thing about it is that we have not had of any bad news about the girls.

“We are looking beyond Nigeria to neighbouring countries. I believe that the ordinary people will give us information about where these girls are.

“We need cooperation from the parents and the guidance, as there is no information about where these girls are yet,” he said.

Decline In Attacks

The President answering questions on why the group had not been approached the same way Niger Delta militants were tackled, President Jonathan pointed out that the terrorists were faceless and that there was no way the government would adopt same approach in handling them.

“The Niger Delta Militants’ approach is different from what we are seeing now. The Boko Haram members are not militants. The leaders of those militants came out for meetings. They have a reason for their agitations. Niger Delta militants never went to markets to kill people.

“Terrorism is based on an ideology and nobody has appeared as a leader of Boko Haram to say ‘this is what I want’,” he stated.

He assured Nigerians that the military had a capacity to contain the insurgents, but stressed that the military over the years had not been well equipped by past leaders and that his administration had been setting aside funds to equip the military well. He also said that more military personnel would be recruited.

President Jonathan said that there had been a decline in attacks in the north east, a development that showed that the military was winning the war on terror.

“As a Nigerian, when you wake up and hear that there was a bomb blast somewhere, you will feel very bad. But the security situation in Nigeria has improved. The attacks have been suppressed reasonably well.

“The explosions in Nyanya do not mean that things are worsening.

“There is a nose dive in the number of attacks in the north east.

“A group of people that are anti-progress will target a country like Nigeria because we have the highest number of black people in Africa,” President Jonathan said.

In the last two weeks, there have been reports that Helicopters were dropping supplies to Boko Haram members in their camp, but President Jonathan pointed out that there had been no shots or video to back the report.

He called on Nigerians to provide proves of such supplies to enable the government tackle the issue.

He also asked Nigerians to be patient with the government, as it tries to root terrorists out of Nigeria.

He explained that the State of Emergency in the three north east states was established to enable the military carry out their work within the area effectively without restrictions in some areas.

“Terrorism is not a thing that you expect to wipe-off with a period of one year of state of emergency. We are making progress in the war against terror and if we need to extend the state of emergency, we will extend it. We are already making some consultations,” he said.

On the World Economic Forum on Africa that will hold in Nigeria between May 7 to 9, President Jonathan also assured the international community that the government was making efforts to ensure that the forum went well.

“With the number of heads of States that are coming to Nigeria for the World Economic Forum on Africa, there will be a lot of stoppage for some time and this will increase the traffic issues. That is why we decided that public offices will not open for business and the public schools owned by the Federal Government should close down,” he said.

Issues on economy rebasing and its impact on the Nigerian economy, the missing 20 billion dollars and the President’s second term ambition were also discussed.

On his second term ambition, President Jonathan insisted that issues that border on how the Nigerian economy would grow and how security of lives and property would be achieved were more important than whether he would run for 2015 or not.

Court To Hear Sanusi’s Suit March 21

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday fixed March 21 to hear a case filed by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Sanusi Lamido, seeking the enforcement of his Fundamental Right.

In the suit filed through one of his counsels, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, the suspended CBN governor is seeking an order that will restrain the police and officers of the State Security Service (SSS) from arresting, detaining or otherwise harassing him.

Joined as respondents in the suit are; the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Inspector General of Police (IGP), and the SSS.

At the hearing of the case on Friday, the lawyers representing the respondents made their applications for adjournment.

Calls For Adjournment

Counsel to the AGF, Dr Oscar Nliam, holding the brief of Mr Mike Ozekhome, informed the court that his office had just been briefed of the matter.

He told the court that they were yet to receive all the processes filed by the applicant and called for a short adjournment to enable him collate all processes.

Counsel representing the IGP, Mr Chukwu Agwu, on his part, informed the court that he was only notified last night by his boss from the force headquarters that the suit would be coming up in court.

He said that the second respondent was yet to receive the processes, and also requested that the court should adjourn the case to enable him look at the processes when they arrive.

The counsel representing the SSS, Mr Ahmed Musa, also requested for an adjournment, saying that it will be to their favour especially as parties are still within time of filing.

Counsel representing Mr Lamido Sanusi in court, Mr Kola Awodehin,  did not object to the prayers for adjournment, but noted that the suit bordered on Fundamental Rights Enforcement, and ought to be dealt with expeditiously.

Justice Buba however, in a short ruling, adjourned the case to March 21 for hearing.

The court had on February 21, granted an interim order of injunction, restraining the respondents from arresting, detaining, or harassing the applicant, pending the determination of the motion on notice.

The interim order was sequel to an affidavit of urgency filed by the suspended CBN governor on the same date.

The court had also granted the applicant leave to serve the Originating Summons and other accompanying court processes on the respondents and had fixed Friday, February 28, for hearing of the motion.

Factional Governors’ Forum Says Sanusi’s Suspension Is Breach Of Constitution

A faction of the Nigerian governors’ forum headed by the Rivers State governor has condemned the suspension of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, describing it as a clear breach of the Nigerian constitution and the CBN Act. 

In a meeting that took place in Abuja and ended in the early hours of Tuesday, the governors said the suspension appeared aimed at diverting focus from the allegations of corruption and the missing 20 billion dollars from the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

In the resolutions read by the chairman, Governor Chibuike Amaechi, the forum also joined the call for a forensic audit of the NNPC’s account.

“The suspension of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by the president is a clear breach of the Nigerian constitution and the CBN Act of 2007.

“It is a diversion form the current national discourse on the allegations of corruption and questionable accountability of the NNPC.

“We support the call by the Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Senate Committee on Finance for a forensic audit of the NNPC’s account.”

Governor Ameachi and other governors deplored what they called a deliberate refusal of the presidency to convene the National Economic Council meeting for the past seven months.

“The refusal of the president to convene a national Economic Council meeting has hindered the constitutional opportunity to discuss the perilous sate of the Nigerian Economy thus plunging the nation into economic and political crises,” governor Ameachi said, reading from the resolutions.

They called on the Judiciary to expedite action on the hearing of constitutional cases, especially the case of the excess crude account and the illegal deductions on oil subsidy.

The forum also took positions on the issue of increasing insecurity in the north east where the Boko Haram sect had carried out several attacks recently.

The governors called on the Federal Government to wake up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property in the country especially in the north east.

National Assembly Insists On Outright Stoppage Of Kerosene Subsidy

The National Assembly in Nigeria has begun investigations into the Kerosene Subsidy that the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria says is still being deducted even after the government had given a directive to stop it.

It is a household product but the masses have expressed the hardship they face in getting the product at a high amount.

Based on the policy establishing the subsidy, the cost price is not supposed to exceed 50 Naira per litre but at the moment the product goes for over 150 Naira, a situation that the Senate described as unacceptable.

They insisted on an outright stoppage of the subsidy since Nigerians cannot get the product at the supposed price of 50 Naira.

Senator Isah Galaudu, a member of the Senate Committee on Finance said that the claim that the price of Kerosene will sky rocket if the subsidy was removed was baseless.

“Now the supply is being maneuverer by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation  (NNPC) because they are the only ones importing Kerosene. If you remove subsidy, independent individuals will import Kerosene and will be cheaper,” he said.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has said that sharp practices of marketers had led to the increase in the price of the product, advising Nigerians to insist on the right price.

The Senate also looked at the suspension of the governor of the Central Bank Nigeria, who was suspended for alleged financial recklessness.

A letter sent to the Senate by the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, recommending a successor was read on the floor of the Senate.

Godwin Emefiele, was recommended as Sanusi’s successor while Mr Adelabu Adekola was recommended as the deputy governor.

The tenure of the suspended CBN governor will expire in June 1.

The House of Representatives condemned the suspension of the CBN governor, questioning the credibility of the process. Some members insisted that the investigation into the alleged missing money should have been concluded before Sanusi’s suspension.

While commenting on the issue, a lawyer, Aja Nwani Aja, said that the issue of suspension was not mentioned in the CBN Act.

He said: “The act of suspension is not contemplated by the law, it is not provided in the law and therefore, to me, it is illegal”.

The suspended governor of the CBN has said that he will contest the suspension decision in court to ensure that subsequent governors of the Central Bank will be able to work without fear of being removed without due process.

Analyst Examines President Jonathan’s Responses During Media Chat

A public affairs analyst, Professor Austin Nweze on Monday analysed some of the responses given by President Goodluck Jonathan during Sunday’s Presidential Media Chat.

On Sunday, the President made statements which have been the source of controversy among Nigerians; one of which is his comment about Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau’s. The President was asked if the terrorist is alive or dead and he responded by saying he wasn’t aware.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Nweze said the President was just “being honest” but that his statement revealed “lack of communication, maybe trust, in information that his lieutenants” give him.

Mr Nweze did not rule out the option of deceit on the part of the terrorist group as the said video of Shekau claiming he’s still alive as reported by the BBC Hausa service could be pre-recorded.

Mr Nweze who said that Nigerians expected a response which would give them hope of Shekau’s death added that “there is confusion everywhere about his death” adding that “whether dead or alive, you can kill him but have you killed the idea behind it?” he asked.

Citing other terrorist leaders, Mohammed Yusuf and Osama Bin Laden, he said “until you arrest the idea behind it, there’s no way you can completely wipe out terrorism”.

He also called for a re-orientation and a new focus of battling the idea behind the insurgency.

The JTF statement which declared the terrorist dead was also questioned as the release because the JTF expressed probability that Shekau had died and went further to say he died.

Mr Nweze said the uncertainty in the statement could have been a communication error.

On the on-going ASUU strike, which the President said has gone political; Mr Nweze said President Jonathan is trying to play safe.

He opined that the government is no longer interested in funding the education and health sector and advised university authorities to innovate ways of generating funds internally.

Contradictory comments by Jonathan and Abati show lack of credibility – ACN, ANPP

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) have expressed concerns over the discrepancies in the statements emanating from President Jonathan and his spokespersons, saying what had now emerged as a credibility deficiency syndrome afflicting the presidency raised questions over who indeed was in charge.

In a statement issued in Abeokuta on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the ACN said the concerns arose because of the frequency with which the President contradicted those he appointed as spokespersons, and in view of the fact that the credibility of his Administration was at stake.

“Credibility is a key issue in governance, and lack of it renders a government impotent. Perhaps this worsening credibility gap in the Jonathan Administration is one of the reasons that it had so far failed to perform to expectation,” it said.

The ACN said Jonathan on Sunday, during his media chat denied that his government had revoked the power reforms contract awarded to Canadian firm, Manitoba hydro, even though his spokesman, Reuben Abati, had been widely quoted as saying – unequivocally – that the President had cancelled the contract.

Also, the party said while the same media aide to the president had been widely quoted as saying that the government was engaged in ‘’back channel’’ talks with Boko Haram, President Jonathan was categorical in saying, during the media chat, that there was no dialogue with the group because there had yet been no face to it.

According to the ACN, it is also instructive that Jonathan has finally confirmed the reported illness of the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, even when the spokespersons for the President and the First Lady said she was hale and hearty, and implied she was vacationing abroad, even as reports circulated that she was being treated for an illness in Germany.

ANPP ask more questions

In a statement issued by the national publicity secretary of the party, Emma Eneukwu, the ANPP expressed concerns over President Jonathan’s responses to some of the questions posed to him during last Sunday’s media chat.

The ANPP said: “For starters, when asked about the on-going constitution amendment, the President declined to take any position on the myriad of issues being raised for amendment in the constitution, with the self-serving explanation that it would be in the best interest of Nigerians to suggest areas in the constitution to be amended. However, we believe that it is the sign of a leader with ideas and direction to have a clear-cut legislative agenda, as a signature of his policy philosophy.”

“Secondly, when he was reminded about his campaign promise of reducing poverty, President Jonathan quickly charged in to tell Nigerians that he never promised to reduce poverty, but rather told the populace when he was campaigning for their votes that he wanted to ‘create wealth.’

“This is a clear political equivocation which is patently illiterate at best and self-indicting at worst. Nigerians are now left to wonder who Mr. President had set out to empower all along. This is because, for sure, creating wealth might actually be a metaphor for putting more money into the hands of his already rich party members and cronies, while leaving the poor of the nation in the hands of chance,” he added.

We need action from politicians not media chats – Lawyer

An Abuja based lawyer, Ismaeel Ahmed on Monday said what Nigerians need actions from politicians that would improve the living conditions in the country not media chats.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ahmed rated the performance of President Goodluck Jonathan in Sunday’s presidential media chat as ‘one of his best’.

“At least he didn’t say he didn’t give a damn about certain things,” Mr Ahmed said.

According to the legal practitioner, the answers President Jonathan provided to certain questions suggested that ‘he was running for office rather than running an office.’