He explained that President Buhari gave the hint in his broadcast to the nation – the third since the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
Adesina noted that the President’s action was in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 3 of the Quarantine Act, CAP Q2 Laws of the Federation 2004, and all powers enabling him in that behalf.
States have started complying with the Federal Government’s directive to shut the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camps.
In a visit to Taraba State camp located at Sibre, along Jalingo-Wukari Expressway, corps members in their number were queuing up to be documented as others were seen loitering around in disarray.
The State Coordinator, David Markson, who declined being interviewed stressed that the directive by the NYSC Director-General, Shuaibu Ibrahim said “no state coordinator should speak to the press except the DG.”
Although the corps members are undergoing an emergency clearance for their monthly allowances, they are however expected to depart immediately after receiving same.
Meanwhile, some officials who preferred anonymity explained that arrangements are in top gear to convey them to their respective destinations, though no mention of either they will be taken to their respective homes or places of primary assignments.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) says state governments do not have any reason not to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
According to the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, the wage is now binding on all states following President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent.
Wabba disclosed this during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Monday. He added that 10 states have completed the process of negotiating with the Nigerian workers in their domain.
“Let us also not lose sight of the fact that from the day the President assented to the bill, it becomes a law. So, therefore, states have no reason not to respect a law that had been enacted,” he said.
Speaking further he listed the states that have respected the deadline given to them on the payment of the minimum wage to be: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos and Ebonyi.
“We have those (states) that are still on the table and they have until yesterday (January 5) to complete the process. This constitutes about 23 states that are on the discussion table.
“We have seen commitments. We insist on the process of collective bargaining because we don’t want an allocation of pedants to workers.
“The issue of bargaining is enshrined in international law that workers should be able to know what they will be paid because the N30,000 is already a law. What we are discussing is the consequential adjustment,” he stated.
President Buhari had in April 2019 signed the Minimum Wage Repeal And Re-Enactment Act, 2019, aimed at boosting the morale of the Nigerian workers.
While asking them to understand the current economic situation facing the nation, the President said he expects the workers and the NLC to show more commitment to work.
One of these is for the Federal, State and Local Governments to declare emergency on the provision of employment across the country.
The senators also called on the Federal Ministry of National Planning to put the necessary mechanism and programmes in place to achieve this.
They proposed the revitalisation of existing industries and urged the executive arm to initiate sustainable employment fund for the payment of stipends to unemployed Nigerians until such persons secure employment.
A Time Bomb
Earlier, Senator Ekweremadu brought the motion to the floor through reliance on Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules.
He decried that high institutions of learning in the country produce a large number of graduates yearly without jobs, describing such a situation as a “time bomb waiting to explode”.
Citing a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2019, Senator Ekweremadu stated that Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 23.1 per cent of the workforce in the third quarter of the year.
He also raised an alarm that the nation’s unemployment rate would hit 33.5 per cent by 2020 while quoting the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige.
“Any nation with such a number of unemployed but employable youths is only sitting on a keg of gun powder.
“The most pressing demand on the hand of every legislator and public officer is the rising number of curriculum vitae and application for employment from constituent Nigerians,” the lawmaker said.
He added, “A situation where every school graduate has to queue up for job only in government offices is an indication of the breakdown of private sector which is the major driver of world economies.”
Senator Ekweremadu stressed that unemployed Nigerian youths with potential talents “lying idle and wasting away are usually misdirected toward many unprofitable and harmful ventures and lifestyles”.
According to him, the most active percentage of Nigeria’s population has been forced to keep away from participating in the economic development of their fatherland and contributing toward the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by unemployment.
The lawmaker also attributed the high level of crime in any society to the high rate of unemployment.
He said, “Unemployment is one of the major causes of upsurge in rural-urban migration which put pressure on facilities at the urban centres.
“Unemployment is one of the major reasons why insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, Cybercrimes and other vices are on the increase.”
In his contribution, Senator Istifanus Gyang described unemployment as a monster that could consume the nation if its people were not careful.
Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, on his part, decried the inability of the private sector to address the escalating rate of unemployment in the country.
The government on the other hand, according to him, lacks the capacity to create jobs as doing so would create an expansion in its fiscal responsibility.
The Senate has called on the 21 border states to dedicate 1.5 per cent of consolidated revenue fund and 30 per cent of ecological fund for the development of border communities in the country.
The upper chamber also urged the Federal Government to increase the funding of the Border Community Development Agency (BCDA), while mandating its Committee on States and Local Governments to carry out a holistic investigation on the level of compliance with the Act establishing the BCDA.
According to a statement signed on Wednesday by the Special Assistant (Press) to the President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, the resolutions were reached after the consideration of a motion on “the need to pay attention to the plight of border communities in Nigeria” during plenary.
Sponsor of the motion, Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara North) explained that when the BCDA was established, the agency had a detailed counterpart funding mechanism under the Border Communities Development Agency Act 2003 to ensure development of border communities.
According to him, the funding mechanisms included 7.5 per cent of the total allocation due to the Federal Government deductible at source; 15 per cent of monthly statutory allocation due to member states of the agency deductible at source; 55 per cent of the monies due to members states of the Agency from the ecological fund, and 10 percent of the monthly statutory allocation due to the border local governments deducted at source.
He added that the deductions made from these accounts at source even before the commencement of the commission had no significant impact on member states, local governments and border communities.
This, according to Umar, necessitated the subsequent amendment of Section 9 of the BCDA Act by the National Assembly in 2006 after a protest by Governors of Border States. “Border communities are in dire need of development in the area of infrastructure, health, education, water and access roads, but the BCDA has not been able to cater for the needs of these communities because of insufficient funding,” Senator Umar said.
The lawmaker recalled that in 2009, about 84 school children were drowned in a river from Bukoro, a border community in Baruten Local Government in Kwara North, while going to school in a neighbouring border community in Benin Republic.
According to Umar, “authorities from Benin Republic responded to that incidence and constructed a bridge across the river, but Nigeria did nothing in respect of same, resulting in Bukuro community threatening to secede from Nigeria.”
While noting that neighbouring border communities of other countries such as Cameroon and Niger enjoy world-class facilities, the lawmaker lamented that indigenes of border communities in Nigeria are at the mercy of other countries for their medical and educational needs, a situation with attendant security risk to the country.
He, therefore, called for the Federal Government’s intervention in providing infrastructure and social amenities for border communities so as to create a sense of belonging among residents.
While lending his voice in support of the motion, another lawmaker, Senator Jibrin Isah Echocho (APC, Kogi East), emphasised the need for the Federal Government to create a separate intervention fund to address the problems of border communities in Nigeria.
According to Echocho, such alternative presents a better opportunity to permanently take care of the multifarious challenges faced by residents of border communities.
The Senate has called on the Federal Government to partner with States, Local Governments and the Private Sector in infrastructure development to promote private investments in Nigeria.
The upper chamber also advocated tax holidays for investors in the solid minerals sector while it urged the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to formalize the operations of illegal miners so as to generate revenue through tax collection.
The Senate further advised the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to collaborate with relevant agencies to push for tax holidays and zero tariffs for import on agricultural and agro-processing equipment.
These formed part of the resolutions reached by the Senate on Thursday sequel to the consideration of motion on “The need for continuous implementation of policy reforms for the diversification of the Nigerian economy through the Agricultural and Solid Minerals Sectors.”
The motion was sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central) and co-sponsored by 59 other senators.
According to Amosun, available statistics show that the contribution of crude petroleum and natural gas to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined from 14.95 percent in 2011 to 9.61 percent in 2015 while the agricultural sector contributed 23.35 and 23.11 percent, respectively, to the GDP during the periods.
The lawmaker, who noted that Nigeria was endowed with a wide variety of solid minerals in almost all states of the federation, said the solid mineral sector ranked second only to the agricultural sector as a source of export earnings for the country.
Amosun said, “In the last four years of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the government has introduced a number of broad and sectoral policies intended to harness Nigeria’s Agricultural and Solid Minerals potentials in a bid to diversify the economy.”
He identified some of the Federal Government’s policies such as the Anchors Borrowers Programme, the Livestock Transformational Plan, Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production, Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, and the Solid Mineral Development Strategy.
Amosun added that the laudable policy initiatives by the Federal Government to reposition the Agricultural and Solid Minerals sectors would not only diversify the Nigerian economy, but also lift one hundred million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years.
Sixteen US states sued President Donald Trump’s administration Monday over his decision to declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the southern border with Mexico, saying the move violated the constitution.
Trump announced the emergency Friday in order to bypass Congress, which approved only a quarter of the $5.6 billion he wanted for the wall in a spending bill.
But the lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California, said the president’s order was contrary to the constitution’s presentment and appropriations clauses, which outline legislative procedures and define Congress as the final arbiter of public funds, respectively.
The move had already been announced by Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, who said Sunday his state and others had legal standing because they risked losing amounts of money intended for military projects, disaster assistance, and other purposes.
Critics, including several senators from Trump’s Republican party, have warned that he has opened the door for future presidents to call on the act whenever they fail to get their way with Congress.
Should the states prevail, the case could work its way up to the Supreme Court, setting up a precedent-setting showdown on the separation of powers.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia are party to the complaint seeking an injunction.
The states “bring this action to protect their residents, natural resources, and economic interests from President Donald J. Trump’s flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles ingrained in the United States Constitution,” the complaint said.
It added that Trump had veered the country toward a “constitutional crisis of his own making.”
“Congress has repeatedly rebuffed the president’s insistence to fund a border wall, recently resulting in a record 35-day partial government shutdown over the border wall dispute,” it said.
“After the government reopened, Congress approved, and the president signed into law, a $1.375 billion appropriation for fencing along the southern border, but Congress made clear that funding could not be used to build President Trump’s proposed border wall.”
The complaint also questioned Trump’s categorization of illegal border crossings as a national emergency, saying data issued by his own administration refuted the notion.
“Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) data show that unlawful entries are near 45-year lows,” it said.
“The State Department recognizes there is a lack of credible evidence that terrorists are using the southern border to enter the United States. Federal data confirm that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than are native-born Americans.”
The White House says the emergency order empowers it to pull around $6.6 billion from other sources, mostly already-allocated funds in the Defense Department budget.
But the lawsuit countered that tapping military funds would result in huge losses for the states’ national guard units which would otherwise use the money for domestic drug interdiction and counter-drug activities as well as for law enforcement programs.
The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico, saying species such as the endangered Mexican gray wolf, and the jaguar would be at risk.
The World Bank has set aside $520 million for rural roads infrastructure across selected states in the country.
This was disclosed by the World Bank Country Director for Rural Access And Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), Tunji Ahmed during a visit to Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed at the government house in Ilorin.
Ahmed said the project was sponsored by the World Bank, French Development Bank and Africa Development Bank to provide suitable road network for rural farmers to convey their farm produce to the market and avoid losses arising from wastages during transportation.
He said the project will be implemented as soon as the World Bank approves the project and Federal Government reaches a financial agreement with the World Bank.
“We know that farmers lost up to 25% of their products because of lack of access to the market. This project is suspected to be taken to the World Bank Board by May 2018 and as soon as the World Bank Board approves the project, there will be a financial agreement between the World Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“There will be a subsidiary agreement between the Federal Government and the state and this is when the project implementation will start.
Different states across the country numbering 23 applied for the loan programme in 2018 and the World body is presently supporting 10 states with $520million.
The World Bank Country Director noted that 25per cent of farm produce are lost as a result of lack of access to markets occasioned by bad roads, adding that RAAMP would improve rural access, agricultural marketing and open up rural areas in the selected participating states.
Responding, the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed identified lack of good road network as an impediment to the movement of farm produce to the market for final consumers, thereby leading to wastages.
The governor said the decision by the state government to present the proposal for the World Bank’s rural access and agricultural marketing project was to create connectivity in moving farm produce to the market, promising that the state government has made provision for counterpart fund to enable it to access the facility.
In order to stabilise the polity, the Federal Government supported states with N1.641tn between 2015 and 2017.
President Muhammadu Buhari said this in his Independence Day broadcast on Sunday morning.
The amount was provided to the states in the form of Excess Crude Account loans (N200bn) in 2015; Budget support facility (N441bn) in 2016; and Stabilisation fund release (N1tn) in 2017.
“This was done to enable states to pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had been all but crippled over the years,” the President said.
As part of efforts aimed at reviving the nation’s economy, the President said his administration remained proactive with its diversification policy.
He cited the Federal Government’s agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme as an initiative that recorded outstanding success.
Launched in November 2015, President Buhari said N43.92bn has been released through the Central Bank of Nigeria and 13 participating institutions with 200,000 smallholder farmers from 29 states benefitting.
These farmers went on to cultivate a variety of crops including rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soya-beans, and groundnuts with some venturing into fish farming and poultry.
In the process, 233,000 hectares of farmland had been cultivated, according to the President.
“These initiatives have been undertaken in close collaboration with the states. I wish to commend the efforts of the Governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ebonyi and the Jigawa States for their support to the rice and fertilizer revolutions,” President Buhari said.
“Equally commendable are contributions of the Governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau States for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and other crops.”
Also, the President informed Nigerians that Since December 2016, his administration has produced over seven million 50Kg bags of fertilizer with 11 blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons reactivated.
“We have saved $150 million in foreign exchange and N60 billion in subsidy. Fertiliser prices have dropped from N13,000 per 50Kg bag to N5,500,” he said.
In addition to that, the President said the Federal Government created a special window for manufacturers, investors and exporters’ foreign exchange requirements, which has proved very effective.
“Since April, about $7 billion has come through this window alone. The main effect of these policies is improved confidence in the economy and better investment sentiments,” he said.
“The country has recorded seven consecutive months of lower inflation, Naira rate is beginning to stabilise, appreciating from N525 per $1 in February this year to N360 today. Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession.”
For President Buhari, another positive for the economy is an improvement in power supply.
He said, “Power remains a huge problem. As of September 12th, production of power reached an all-time high of 7,001 Megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedeviling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 Megawatts by 2020.
“Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and Hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years of limbo, Mambilla Power Project has taken off.”
The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the Federal Government is doing everything possible to assist states especially in the face of the nation’s current economic crisis.
Professor Osinbajo who was speaking at a Federal Government and Progressive Governors Forum parley in kebbi State, also noted that the government has introduced transparency to the management of the Federation Account, ensuring that all monies due are remitted.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has always insisted that Federation Account must be transparent, and all books open. I’m sure the governors agree we’ve done our best.
“We’re doing everything to support all States, regardless of party: Budget Support, Paris Club Refunds, clearing debts owed them, etc”
Furthermore, he took a swipe at the previous administration, stating that then they were earning $100/barell and did not pay Paris Club Refunds, or Cash Calls. “This Government, earning 60% less revenue, is doing everything,” he noted.
While addressing other issues surrounding the nation’s economy, he encouraged citizens not to rely solely on revenue from oil saying: “Nigeria’s greatest resource is not oil but the talents and can-do spirit of its citizens.”
Professor Osinbajo also spoke about poverty alleviation and hinted at the possibility of a future where we truly grow what we eat, and where we are able to add value to our products before export.
He stated some of the progress made in that regard by the government which included the launch of the Anchor Borrowers Programme by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015, noting that today, more than 400,000 farmers in Kebbi have benefited from it.
“We’re no longer importing grain to feed displaced people in the Northeast. We’re now buying and using our own grain.
“We’ve ensured our farmers are the major beneficiaries of our School Feeding Programme,” he stated further.
“The future belongs to the progressive tendencies in our polity. Our victory in the 2015 elections was not a fluke.
“Our people understand that the task of clearing decades of debris will take time. But we must also keep faith with them, and deliver,” he stated.
The Federal Government says it has so far disbursed N3.7bn to nine states under for one of its Social Investment Programme, the HomeGrown School Feeding Programme.
According to the Federal Government, the amount is meant for the feeding of 1,287,270 school children.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, disclosed this on Sunday.
It listed the states that received the funds as Anambra, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta and Abia, adding that 14,574 cooks had been hired as part of the programme.
A breakdown of the amount showed that Anambra state got a total of N693,013,300, in eight tranches with 103,742 children fed so far.
The total release for Enugu state is N419,427,200 in six tranches and 108,898 school children have so far been fed.
For Oyo state, a total of N414, 708, 700 have been released for the feeding of 107,983 children in six tranches.
Osun State got N767,483,244 in eight tranches for the feeding of 151,438 pupils, while Ogun state received N880,055,400 in seven tranches and fed 231,660 school children.
Ebonyi State received N344,633,100 in three tranches for the feeding of 163,137 school children, while Zamfara, Delta and Abia states got a total of N188,001,100, N63,366,100, N42,921,200, respectively for the feeding of 268,573, 90,523 and 61,316 pupils in that order.
According to the statement, Zamfara, Delta and Abia are the latest states to join the School Feeding Programme, which is projected to feed over Three million pupils this year.
It added, “The money is paid directly from the FG’s coffers to the cooks, with a slight variation in Osun State where some of the food items like eggs are bought centrally by an aggregator.”
Reactions have started to trail the nationwide broadcast by President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday in which he expressed his anger over the endless bloodshed in some northern states, and declaring a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
Lending his support to the President’s action, prominent lawyer, Festus Keyamo, says the decision was long overdue, adding that the activities of the insurgents had left President Jonathan with no other choice than to take the step he has taken.
“The declaration of a State of Emergency by President Goodluck Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States as a result of months of ceaseless bloodshed and carnage by insurgents is a step that has long been overdue. The bloodletting in these states left the President with no other option but to take this extraordinary step. This step must be appreciated in the light of the refusal of the insurgents to even dialogue with the Federal Government,” Mr. Keyamo explained in a press statement.
Mr. Keyamo added that the protection of lives and properties all citizens lies primarily with the government and it is also the responsibility of the same government to find solution to any threat to peace, warning that the Federal Government should not politicise the state of emergency on these states.
The human rights activist maintained that the president was right in not suspending the governors in the respective states as nothing in the constitution in Section 305 of the amended 1999 Constitution states that the President has the power to suspend the governors.
He urged the President to make his actions legitimate by following the amended 1999 Constitution, section 305 to the latter and order the return of the troops to the barracks once peace is restored in the affected states.
“We all owe it a duty to assist government to restore law and order in the country. It is for our overall benefit,” Mr. Keyamo stated.