Osinbajo Reveals ‘One More Thing’ To Defeat Boko Haram Completely

Osinbajo Reveals 'One More Thing' To Defeat Boko Haram CompletelyThe Federal Government may have concluded that Boko Haram has been technically defeated, but there is “one thing” they say is left to properly deal a lasting blow to the menace.

To this end, the Nigerian Government and France have agreed to work together in achieving a terror free Nigeria.

Both countries indicated their interests on Friday at a bilateral meeting between Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and French Prime Minister, Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, in Paris.

According to Professor Osinbajo who stressed the need to break the ideological underpinnings of terror, “one thing left for us to deal with is deradicalisation, defeating the ‘ideology’ behind the mindless killing and violence”.

On his part, Mr Cazeneuve praised what he described as the ‘tremendous progress’ made by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in degrading Boko Haram and suppressing the insurgency significantly.

He pledged that France will stand by Nigeria, saying the French Government is aware of the problem and they know “it cannot be solved by countries working alone”.

Professor Osinbajo has been in France where he attended and spoke at the just concluded Global Forum on Anti-Corruption and Integrity hosted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Buhari Approves New Board For NTA, Others

Buhari at his office The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) has a new board led by a former Newspaper Editor and former Presidential Spokesman, Mr Duro Onabule.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday approved the new board which consists of six other Executive Directors.

They are: Dr. Steve Egbo, Administration and Training; Abdul Hamid Salihu Dembos, Marketing; Mohammed Labbo, News; Fatima M. Barda, Finance; Stephen Okoanachi, Engineering; and Wole Coker, Programmes.

Some other appointments were also announced in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“At the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Aliyu Hayatu is new chairman, while Buhari Auwalu and Yinka Amosun, are Zonal Directors, Kaduna and Lagos, respectively.

“Under the Ministry of Information and Culture, the following agencies have new appointees: Nigerian Film Corporation, Dr. Chika Maduekwe, General Manager; National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria, Comrade Tar Ukoh, Artistic Director; National Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General; National Film and Video Censors Board, Folorunsho Coker, Director-General,” the statement read.

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, will also serve as the Chairman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), while Mr Mustapha Maihaja is to serve as the agency’s Director-General.

According to the statement, other members of the NEMA Board are: “The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr David Babachir Lawal; Captain Talba Alkali, representing Ministry of Transport and Aviation; Ambassador Rabiu Dagari, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Ngozi Azadoh, Ministry of Health; Mr Muhammadu Maccido, Ministry of Interior; Mr Ajisegiri Benson Akinloye; Ministry of Water Resources, Air Vice Marshal Emmanuel Anebi, Nigerian Armed Forces; and AIG Salisu Fagge Abdullahi, Nigerian Police Force”.

The President’s spokesman said the appointments are to take immediate effect.

Looted Funds: Osinbajo Blames Difficult Recovery On Int’l Financial System

We Hear You, Loud And Clear, Osinbajo Tells ProtestersNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has blamed the difficulty in retrieving funds looted from the country on the international financial system.

Professor Osinbajo was speaking on Thursday at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) forum in Paris, France.

In a statement, the Vice President pointed out that illicit financial flows must be regarded as corrupt activity.

He acknowledged that the tracing, freezing and return of stolen assets have proved exceptionally difficult for most African countries.

“Countries hosting global financial centres, and other usually targeted destinations of illicit flows must be held more accountable to enforce mechanisms which ensure transparency of ownership, control, beneficial ownership, trusts and other legal contrivances that may be used to camouflage financial or other assets,” Professor Osinbajo said.

He insisted that member-countries must work collaboratively to ensure transparency in financial transfers, and outlaw secrecy jurisdictions, in addition to more rigorous enforcement of rules promoting transparency in the international banking and financial system.

Senate Suspends Screening Of INEC RECs

Senate Spokesman Confirms Receipt Of Letter From BuhariThe Nigerian Senate on Tuesday stood down the confirmation of nominees for positions of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).

This appears to be the Senate’s way of expressing misgivings about President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged refusal to sack Mr Ibrahim Magu as acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), despite his repeated rejection by the lawmakers.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, however, urged the lawmakers to apply some moderation to allow the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, convey their feelings to President Buhari on the issue of the appointment.

He also advised the Upper Chamber to stand down the confirmation of REC nominees for about two weeks.

“Those who drafted this constitution are not stupid, we didn’t draft it ourselves. We are here to protect the law which we all swore to.

“We said we are going to defend our constitution and defend the laws of this country and we must be seen to be doing that.

“But in doing this, I want to appeal that we apply some moderation to allow Mr President (Senator Saraki) to convey our feelings to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on this issue of appointment.

“I just want to appeal that we leave it for one week or at most by two weeks,” the Deputy Senate President said.

The Senators also accused some appointees of the President of disrespecting the National Assembly.

This comes barely a week after Dr. Saraki read a letter seeking the confirmation of 27 nominees for the position of RECs in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The letter was dated February 27, 2017, and signed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while acting as Nigeria’s President.

The list, which asked the lawmakers to consider the nominees for the positions, had eight former RECs who were reappointed and 19 new appointees.

NDDC Projects: Contractors To Face Prosecution After 30 Days Ultimatum

NDDC Gives Contractors 30 Days to Return to SiteThe Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has given contractors handling its projects 30 days to return to site and complete the projects or face prosecution.

The Managing Director of NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, stated this following an Inter-Ministerial meeting in Abuja chaired by Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

The meeting, which took place over the weekend, had in attendance Ministers of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Environment, Niger Delta, Information and Culture, as well as the Presidential Amnesty Office.

It reviewed the 20-Point Agenda of the Petroleum Ministry with regards to the Niger Delta, as well as the Amnesty Programme and the 16-point demand of the Pan Niger Delta Forum.

Mr Ekere said “a list of such contractors is being compiled in all the nine NDDC states and defaulters would be prosecuted”.

He stressed the need to fast-track the ongoing audit of projects awarded in the Niger Delta region, in line with government directives.

“It is important for our contractors to realise that it can’t be business as usual. President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to change how government business is conducted and everyone must wake up to that reality.

Workable Plan

“But beyond that is the fact that we owe the Niger Delta region and our people the duty to implement and complete these projects, in order to facilitate sustainable regional development.

“This is a necessary process to ensure that things are done properly, how they ought to be done and when they ought to be done. It is important to consolidate the agenda with that of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, as well as the blueprint of the State Governments, the Amnesty Office and the NDDC Master Plan, in order to roll them into one workable plan.

“We are all going to initiate quick-win projects that will give a sense of involvement to government’s approach to handling issues that will impact the people. We will organise frequent town hall meetings with all stakeholders and collaborate in building sustainable economic models for the communities of the Niger Delta,” Ekere said.

The NDDC boss also emphasised the need for the Commission to work with the Ministry of Environment and NOSREA, to facilitate the clean-up exercise in affected areas of oil spill, work on a time frame and encourage IOCs to provide more power to their host communities beyond working with Electricity Distribution Companies.

“Satellite mapping will be used to identify polluted areas in the Niger Delta and a comprehensive plan of action adopted to ensure regional clean-up. This is important because we must ensure that we safeguard our environment and give our people the opportunity and enabling environment to pursue our predominant traditional livelihoods.

“Agriculture and aquaculture are key to facilitating sustainable development in the region, particularly as we seek alternate productive socio-economic activities beyond oil and gas,” he said.

 

Buhari Has Returned With New Vigour – APC

Buhari Has Returned With New Vigour - APCThe All Progressives Congress (APC) believes that President Muhammadu Buhari is now well rested and has returned with new vigour.

The party declared in a statement that the President is back with optimism to fix Nigeria’s challenges and fulfill the promises the party made to Nigerians during the 2015 elections.

The statement which was issued on Friday by the APC spokesman, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, also thanked President Buhari for following due process.

“We thank the President for following due process and properly handing over to his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and thereby saving the country the needless controversies and crises that we experienced in the past.

“The party also commend the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, for competently holding fort on behalf of Mr President and for his loyalty and commitment to the Change Agenda of our party.

“We thank Nigerians and all men and women of goodwill who have been praying for the health and safe return of the President and note that the government is fully committed to the party’s manifesto of change, couched on true transformation in every area of national life”.

Guinea-Bissau: Osinbajo Supports ECOWAS-led Mediation Process

Yemi Osinbajo Flags Off Lagos-Ibadan New Rail ProjectThe Nigerian Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated the nation’s commitment to  support the ECOWAS-led mediation process, and the full swift restoration of peace in Guinea-Bissau.

He said this after a closed door meeting with the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Embalo, in Kaduna State.

The meeting lasted for over 45 minutes and had in attendance, the Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Bukar Ibrahim, Deputy Governor of Kaduna state, Bala Bantex, top security officials and other government functionaries.

Speaking to reporters after the closed door meeting, Prof. Osinbajo expressed deep concern over the protracted political and institutional crisis, due to the inability of political stakeholders to reach a lasting and consensual solution.

He however, said that as longtime allies, the Nigerian government will continue to partner with Guinea-Bissau in the areas of security and economy.

Guinea-Bissau has been in the throes of  power struggle since August 2015, following the removal of the Prime Minister, Domingos Pereira by the country’s President, Jose Vaz.

FEC Celebrates Acting President Osinbajo At 60

osinbajo The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has reiterated its commitment to getting Nigeria out of recession before the end of 2017‎.

The resolve was made during the FEC meeting chaired by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who clocked 60 on Wednesday.

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Although members of the Council may not have rehearsed very well, they honoured Professor Osinbajo with a warm song.

The meeting was brought to a close with the cutting of the birthday cake as some of the ministers joined the Acting President in a photo session.

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Briefing journalists on the outcome of the meeting, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said the 2017 budget has been structured to pull Nigeria out of recession.

The Minister added that the government was anxious to get the budget passed in order to begin its implementation.

He also noted that the release of the budget would fast-track the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) recently released by the Ministry of Budget.

The Council thereafter, approved the contract for the construction of the Greater Abuja Water Supply Project at the cost of $470 million.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Mohammed Bello, stressed the importance of the project to provide potable water to residents of the greater part of the FCT.

Osinbajo Flags Off Lagos-Ibadan New Rail Project

Yemi Osinbajo Flags Off Lagos-Ibadan New Rail ProjectNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday performed the ground breaking for the commencement of work on the new Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project.

It has been another busy day for the Acting President who flew into Lagos State for the commissioning, shortly after swearing-in the new Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

Speaking at the ceremony which took place at the Nigerian Railway Compound in Ebute Metta, Professor Osinbajo restated the Federal Government’s resolve to revive and modernise rail transportation in order to ease pressure on the nation’s roads.

The Acting President, in statement made by public by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, said: “I am extremely pleased and honoured to be here this morning for the ground breaking ceremony of the Lagos-Ibadan section of the Lagos -Kano standard gauge railway project. This is an epochal moment in our national life in many ways.

“First, it signals the determination of our President and Commander-in- Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, to modernise the national rail system in keeping with his promise to the Nigerian people. If there is a project close to the heart of the president, it is the rail project which he promised the nation upon assumption of office. The President himself made a visit to China, and reopened the negotiations on the Chinese support for this project.

“Second, this ceremony also marks the commencement of our plan to move speedily to improve links between Lagos, which is the national economic nerve centre and major port to other state capitals and towns across the country.

“Thirdly, our ground breaking today reflects the plans of the Federal Government to build a globally competitive economy with first grade infrastructure. The critical role of infrastructure, and for this purpose railways, in this strategy is underscored by our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, as well as the 2016 and 2017 budgets. We have made provisions for matching funds in the 2016 budget to complement the concessionary loans taken from the Peoples Republic of China, and our appreciation goes to the Chinese Government and the Chinese Exim Bank, who are, and have always proved to be reliable partners to Nigeria.

A Boost To Economic Activities

“And some may be aware that we have the entire Lagos-Kano standard gauge track as well as the Lagos-Calabar railway track in the 2017 budget, negotiations on the Kaduna-Kano portion of the track is now completed and this phase is next in line.

“We have already provided our portion for funding Lagos-Calabar rail as well and we expect that negotiations on the foreign component of the funding will be finalised in the next three months and that the Lagos-Calabar project as well will come on stream.

“An active and vibrant railway system confers many benefits on the society and our ultimate goal is to restore a railway-using culture for both commercial and personal transportation. We are confident that the national rail project will create up to half a million jobs and facilitate the movement of over 3.2 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

“It will also reduce the burden on national highways, thus reducing the deterioration of the road network and increasing the lifespan of our roads. Indeed by helping to reduce freight cost, the railway network will support efforts to diversify the economy and enhance our export potential.

“Just as several of our cities are being known as railway towns in the past, we expect a boost to economic activities along the railway lines that will eventually cut across the entire country. To achieve this objectives, the Federal Ministry of Transportation has completed visibility studies for up to 13 routes which has been identified for connecting state capitals and major commercials centres to the rail network. We should begin to see significant activities in this regard very shortly.

Fast And Efficient Train Service

“It is important however, to have viable self-sustaining and self-improving railway service. It should be one that is not reliant on government funding which may not be available at all times. It should be one that could be upgraded and improved over time and not left to decay due to management issues or lack of attention. This is why the Federal Government supports the replacement of the 1955 Railway Act with a legal framework that opens railway projects in the country for greater private sector participation. In this way, we expect to ensure the resources and management to run efficient modern and reliable train services.

“Let me conclude by acknowledging the vigorous and energetic efforts of the Honourable Minister and his team in the Ministry of Transportation to get us to this point. The Honourable Minister of Finance also deserves to be commended for the efficient and competent handling of financial negotiations.

“But I think it bears repeating: that Rotimi Ameachi’s bulldozing approach to ensure that we are here today on this first day of construction so quickly!

“I am confident that we will see the same zeal and result in project executions so that the construction of the railway lines will be completed on schedule. Just for emphasis, as a reminder to our excellent partners and manufacturers CCECC, we are looking forward to a fast and efficient train service between Lagos and Ibadan within the projected time frame, which is on or before December 2018”.

UN Security Council Meets With Osinbajo

UN Security Council Meets With OsinbajoNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the visiting United Nations Security Council mission that steps are being taken to ensure that human rights culture is institutionalised in the Nigerian Military to avoid negative reports of human rights abuse.

Professor Osinbajo said this during a closed door meeting with the UN delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, noted that it was time for the international community to take another look at the international legal instruments and conventions that govern warfare and conflicts in the light of the unconventional and brutal operations of terrorists and insurgents around the world.

“We must, on a global scale look again at how to deal with these new challenges.

“We need to look at the governing conventions, as well as what type of legal categories and recognition of law we should give them.

“We need to re-examine how to deal with these individuals according to law,” the Acting President said in a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

He also assured the UN team that the Federal Government would progressively review the Rules of Engagement by the military and across the nation’s security system while taking human rights issues into consideration.

Professor Osinbajo added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes which include the Conditional Cash Transfer, the GEEP Micro Credit scheme and the N-Power job programme would cater to the developmental needs of the northeast.

He said “we are already disbursing the cash transfers in some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities,” adding that the present administration was implementing a micro-credit scheme while using the Social Investment Programmes to resuscitate the local economies, including through the Anchor Borrowers’ plan for farmers.

The Acting President further urged the international community to support the Federal Government in the area of humanitarian response, describing the challenge as “massive”.

He hinted that the government was also in the process of passing a Northeast Development Commission bill that would deal with some of the long term developmental issues.

The Security Council members were led to the Presidential Villa by the UK Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft.

The team comprises of all the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, Ambassador Rycroft praised the Nigerian Government for its handling of the humanitarian challenge in the Northeast.

He called for a long term developmental outlook in the region to address the issues of good governance, human rights, women’s participation, economic revival, education and jobs.

The delegation is leaving Nigeria with a pledge that the United Nations Security Council would play its role well in assisting the Nigerian Government to tackle the challenges in the conflict zones.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geofrey Onyeama, said the Federal Government is pleased with the tour of the northeast by the Council.

He assured the team that Nigeria would leverage on it to access all the funds needed for the rehabilitation of the IDPs in region.

The meeting was attended by some members of the Federal Executive Council and top government officials including the Minister of Defence, Major General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others are the Minster of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubrin; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.

FG Redeploys Federal Permanent Secretaries

Winifred Oyo-Ita, Yemi Osinbajo, Shehu Ahmed, Bukar Hassan, Permanent SecretariesNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has approved the redeployment of some Federal Permanent Secretaries.

The redeployment was disclosed in a statement signed by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita.

According to the statement, the Permanent Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Shehu Ahmed, has been posted to Environment.

The Permanent Secretary of Environment, Dr. Bukar Hassan, was also redeployed to Agriculture and Rural Development.

The statement further directed that the processes for handing and taking over should be completed on or before Friday, March 10.

Osinbajo Calls For Adoption Of Anti-Corruption Models

Osinbajo Calls For Adoption Of Anti-Corruption Models The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is calling on Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies to learn from the international community on the model some “less corrupt” countries have used to curb the menace in their country.

Osinbajo, who described corruption as systemic and life threatening, also appealed to the international community to assist Nigeria in the identification, recovery and repatriation of stolen assets.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, decried the perception and reaction of the public to corruption, saying that corruption is omnipresent in Nigeria.

Also recently, the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, called on members of the judiciary to stand against corruption and uphold the rule of law.

According to him, the recent happenings on alleged corruption especially against some members of the judiciary, make the public question the integrity of the judiciary.

While he advocated that rights of all citizens must be upheld regardless of age or gender, Ahmed also noted that the integrity, independence and impartiality of the judiciary are essential to promoting human rights and fostering development.