There have been intensifying calls for Mapangou to resign in recent days in the press and from civil society groups in the aftermath of the theft of hundreds of seized containers of kevazingo, a rare wood considered sacred.
Nearly 5,000 cubic metres (177,000 cubic feet) of kevazingo worth some 7 million euros ($7.8 million) was found in two depots belonging to Chinese companies in the Libreville port of Owendo in February and March.
Several suspects were arrested, but 353 of the containers — which had been confiscated — mysteriously disappeared.
The wood had allegedly been loaded into containers bearing water and forestry ministry labels, falsely describing it as okoume — a kind of timber cleared for export.
Local media have called the scandal “kevazingogate”.
Earlier in May, the government said several top Gabonese officials had been suspended over suspected involvement in smuggling the precious timber.
Kevazingo is a rare central African wood that is prized in Asia, notably for sculpting into temple doorways, tea tables and meeting tables.
Gabon, three quarters of whose land mass is forested, last year banned the exploitation of kevazingo after illegal felling reached alarming proportions.
The industry is hugely important for the West African nation’s economy, supporting some 17,000 jobs, and is second only to the petroleum sector in terms of foreign earnings and accounts for 60 per cent of non-oil related GDP.
Taliban fighters on Saturday attacked a convoy carrying Afghanistan’s vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, in an assault that left the former warlord unscathed but killed one of his bodyguards, an official told AFP.
Enayatullah Babur, Dostum’s former chief of staff, said the hour-long attack also left several others in the convoy wounded.
The attack occurred in the northern province of Balkh, where Dostum had held a rally earlier in the day.
On Twitter, a Taliban spokesman said the insurgent group had carried out the attack and claimed four of Dostum’s bodyguards had been killed.
Dostum, a powerful ethnic Uzbek leader, is notorious in Afghanistan for extreme barbarities and for repeatedly switching loyalties over 40 years of conflict.
Despite a catalogue of war crimes attached to his name and accusations of organising the rape and torture of a political rival, Dostum became Afghanistan’s first vice president in 2014.
At the rally in Balkh, Dostum had claimed he could clear northern Afghanistan of the Taliban within six months — if only the government would let him.
In delayed elections now slated for September, President Ashraf Ghani has chosen to run with Amrullah Saleh, an ethnic Tajik, instead of Dostum.
Dostum has survived several other attempts on his life, including one claimed by the Islamic State group last July in Kabul that killed 23 people including AFP driver Mohammad Akhtar.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Federal Government remains committed to empowering over 30 million MSME’s in Nigeria with interest-free, collateral-free loans.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, who represented the VP, said this on Thursday while giving a progress report on the GEEP micro-credit products (TraderMoni, MarketMoni, and FarmerMoni).
“GEEP’s vision (in the long term) remains to empower the over 30 million MSMEs in Nigeria with interest-free, collateral-free loans,” Akande said.
He also debunked reports that the TraderMoni scheme and other GEEP micro-credit products – a component of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme, had been suspended.
According to him, they are still very much in operation and “so far, a target of 30,000 minimum beneficiaries per state has been achieved in majority of the 36 states and FCT since after the national and state polls.”
He further explained that “what the implementing agency has been doing since the last phase of disbursements is generating the balance of program funding while ramping up on the states with shortages.”
Read the full statement below…
OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
30,000 PETTY TRADERS HAVE RECEIVED TRADER MONI LOANS SINCE AFTER ELECTIONS
*With repayments, some have started collecting 2nd (improved) loans of N15, 000
Contrary to speculations in some quarters, the TraderMoni scheme and other GEEP micro-credit products (MarketMoni and FarmerMoni) – a component of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme, are still very much in operation, Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President (Office of the Vice President), has said.
Mr Akande disclosed this in a progress report on the GEEP micro-credit products (TraderMoni, MarketMoni, and FarmerMoni).
According to him, “So far, a target of 30,000 minimum beneficiaries per state has been achieved in majority of the 36 states and FCT since after the national and state polls.”
Besides, he added that “what the implementing agency has been doing since the last phase of disbursements is generating the balance of program funding while ramping up on the states with shortages.”
“Consequently, disbursements have continued to happen in the states; for instance, we have had over 28,000 disbursements across 10 states since after the elections. Our priority is ramping up these numbers in the balance of states before we move to phase two of the program after detailed reviews and structural enhancements for larger scale.
Under the Next Level agenda, Trader Moni loans will target ten million petty traders, a significant ramp up from the initial target of two million beneficiaries.
On the role of the Ministry for Industry, Trade and Investment in the implementation of the scheme, he said, “it is actively involved in the project.”
Mr Akande said, “that ministry is, in fact the oversighting Ministry of Bank of Industry, which is the deploying agency. The office of the Minister executes the GEEP program via the Bank of Industry.
“The governance structure of GEEP includes the office of the Vice President (National Social Investment Office), The Ministry of Trade and Investment, and the Bank of Industry.”
Speaking on measures adopted to enhance repayments, the Presidential Media Aide said GEEP has pioneered innovative solutions to drive repayment compliance.
“Working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), we successfully piloted the concept of the BVN as digital collateral; and we saw repayment go up significantly on the MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans.
“For TraderMoni, beneficiaries can pay back at any commercial bank in the country just like a NEPA or WAEC bill; all they need to provide the bank teller with is their phone number. We also developed and successfully piloted scratch cards as a repayment option for beneficiaries who stay kilometres away from the nearest banks in their community. The cards are loaded the same way Telco recharge cards are loaded, thus requiring no new learning curve.
“This improved repayment received compliance to the extent that in January, the Bank of Industry began second level disbursements – disbursements of N15,000 – to beneficiaries in Lagos, Borno, Ogun and Oyo states for trader who had successfully paid back their first N10,000 loans,” Mr Akande disclosed.
According to him, “GEEP’s vision (in the long term) remains to empower the over 30 million MSMEs in Nigeria with interest-free, collateral-free loans.”
The GEEP programme, a component of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme (SIP) has since inception about two years ago, impacted many lives, improved living conditions and expanded opportunities for ordinary Nigerians to do petty trading as well as small and medium scale businesses.
Under the Trader Moni scheme, an initial N10,000 loan is given to petty traders and once they repay within six months, they can receive a new N15,000 loan and when they repay that they can get another N20,000 loan until they get as much as N100,000
Media & Publicity Unit Office of the Vice President 21st March 2019
Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo has turned 62 today.
The VP who was born on March 8, 1957, spent most of his childhood days in Lagos State, where he had his primary, college and tertiary education.
In 1978, he was awarded a LLB Law degree from the University of Lagos, after which he attended the Nigerian Law School and called to the Bar in 1980.
He was awarded a Master of Laws In 1981, after attending the London School of Economics.
After spending many years as a lecturer in Law at the Lagos State University, and later as a legal adviser to the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Bola Ajibola, he ventured into politics.
Following the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2013, Prof. Osinbajo, alongside other notable Nigerians, was saddled with the task of designing and producing a manifesto for the new political party.
This culminated in the presentation of the “Roadmap to a New Nigeria”, a document published by the APC as its manifesto.
On December 17, 2014, the-then presidential candidate of the APC, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), announced the choice of Prof. Osinbajo as his running mate and Vice-Presidential candidate for the 2015 elections.
He became the Vice President of Nigeria after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Buhari as the winner of the elections on March 31, 2015.
He is set to begin a second term as Vice President on May 29, 2019, following the re-election of Buhari as President in the February 23 presidential election.
He is married to Oludolapo, and they have three children.
Vice-Presidential candidates in the 2019 elections on Friday stressed the importance of the position of Vice President in Nigeria.
According to them, the office of the Vice President is not an inferior position but a very crucial one.
The candidates said this during the vice presidential debate put together by Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).
Present at the debate were Ganiyu Galadima of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya of Alliance For New Nigeria (ANN), Professor Yemi Osinbajo of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Peter Obi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Umma Getso of Young Progressives Party (YPP).
Galadima of ACPN said both offices require the same qualifications and although one is higher than the other, they are both of the same status.
“I don’t see the office of the Vice president as a spare tyre because it is the same qualification that the President of a country must have that the vice president must have.
“If the President is not around, it is the vice president that takes over and I want to tell you, you know how important the office of the Vice President is, that it is not inferior to the President.
“If the Vice President of a country takes any decision as acting President, the President of a country cannot legally go against that action,” he said.
The Vice Presidential candidate of ANN, Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya said the office of the Vice President is not one to be taken for granted. She said the position is essential for nation building.
“Being in the position of the Vice President of a nation is not something that should be taken lightly because a nation builder is that person who sees a problem and resolves it. The position of the Vice-President of Nigeria is an office which must be taken seriously.”
Vice-President Osinbajo reacting to the question of the importance of the role of the Vice-President said “I’m sure those who know me very well know that my hair was not this grey when I started out in 2015. It has been tasking (being the vice-President). It has also been an incredibly rewarding experience.”
Osinbajo added that the role of the Vice President is the role of the chief adviser to the President. According to him, the role of the Vice President very closely mirrors the position of the President.
“The vice president in Nigeria is different from the vice president in other countries because unlike other countries, even countries that have a similar constitution, our constitution specify the role of the Vice President.
“The Vice-President is the Chairman of National Economic Council (NEC) that is the council where all the governors of the states meet every month and the Vice President chairs it. That is a constitutional role. The vice-president is also the Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP). The Vice-President also statutory chairman of about 22 different parastatal and agencies and these are all defined by the law.
“So those who say the role of the vice-president is a spare tyre have it wrong,” he said.
Peter Obi in his reaction to the question of Vice-Presidents conflicting with their principal said, “I assure you, that won’t be the case. The Vice-President has a role and the role to me is the most critical because it has to do with the economy of this country.
Obi claimed that Nigeria’s economy is on its knees and not creating jobs.
“The Vice president is the one in charge of rebuilding this economy and making it work to be able to create jobs,” he said.
Candidate of the YPP in response to how she will handle the position of being Vice-President if she has a principal that hardly delegate authority even when the constitution stipulates said the YPP gives priority to women.
“Professor Kingsley Mogahalu’s presidency is about giving 50-50 to women to participate in his government in all offices. The 50-50 gender equity is a priority in YPP and Moghalu’s presidential candidacy.”
Greg Pence, the older brother of US Vice President Mike Pence, won a seat in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday soon after polls began closing in the midterm elections.
The 61-year-old businessman and military veteran claimed victory for the Republicans in the district his younger brother once held in Indiana.
Prior to becoming Donald Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence went from serving in the heavily-Republican 6th district in southern Indiana to become governor of the conservative Midwestern state.
In his first campaign for public office, the elder Pence promised to support the agenda pushed by his brother and Trump in Washington, describing himself as a conservative who opposes abortion and supports gun ownership rights.
With less than a fifth of votes counted, Pence declared victory with 68 per cent and was projected as the winner by US networks CNN and NBC.
“As many of you, I continue to be inspired by President Trump,” Pence said in his victory speech.
“I support the president’s agenda to fight for the middle class and ensure commonsense policies get through and accomplished by Congress.”
Pence’s opponent was Democrat Jeannine Lake, a self-described Christian Democrat who supported tuition-free college and universal health care, and opposed Trump’s trade tariffs that she said had financially hurt farmers.
Pence will fill an open seat vacated by Luke Messer, who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate.
The Federal Government has appealed to Nigerians, especially those living in flood-prone areas to stop blocking drainages to enhance the flow of water.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made the plea in a statement on Thursday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.
“One of the things I’d want to say is that we have to change our habits in terms of blocking drainages. By and large here, if you look at the channels, they are huge,” he said when he visited Abeokuta on Wednesday.
“They have done quite a lot in terms of canalisation and drainage. But still, where you have a large amount of rain falling within a short period of time, you are likely to have flash flooding.”
Professor Osinbajo, who was on a condolence visit to the Ogun State capital, noted that while it was difficult to avoid flash flooding anywhere, the situation would have worsened if the incident occurred late at night because it would naturally cause a disaster.
He advised those living in the axis and similar areas in other states to move quickly to higher grounds when the rains are heavy, to prevent the loss of life.
The Vice President sympathised with the flood victims and those who lost their loved ones to the incident, saying the government would improve on the drainage infrastructure in the affected areas.
He said, “On the whole, the loss of lives is very unfortunate, and we commiserate as the Federal Government. But I also want to say that God had been truly gracious to us. It could have been much worse, but for the large infrastructure here, canalisation and drainage, which helped to move the water quickly, the water has practically receded despite the surge.
“What we are looking at is how the drainage and canalisation can be enhanced. We are in discussions with His Excellency, the Governor, to see in specific ways how the Federal Government can be of assistance. We have to sit down and really look at those issues carefully.”
Osinbajo added, “Of course, we are providing immediate relief materials to support the state government; the Director General of NEMA is here, providing that immediate succour and assistance.
“On a more permanent basis, we would be working very closely with the government to see how we can assist in improving the drainage and sewage infrastructure. That’s a more substantive issue and we have to look at it carefully.”
He, however, called for more citizen awareness so as to avoid future occurrences and commended the state government for its prompt response to the incident.
The Vice President, who was received by Governor Ibikule Amosun, was taken round the affected areas, including Kuto and Isale-Igbein where at least 11 lives were lost, and several houses destroyed.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has appointed Mr Amaju Pinnick as its 1st Vice-President.
CAF announced the appointment in a statement on its website on Thursday.
“Following the resignation of the 1st Vice-President Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, CAF President, after consulting the members of the Emergency Committee, appointed Mr. Amaju Melvin PINNICK as 1st Vice-President,” the statement read in part.
CAF added that the decision is “immediately applicable, in accordance with article 27 para. 2 of the Statutes, which will be ratified by the Executive Committee in its session scheduled on the 27 and 28 of September 2018.”
Pinnick who oversaw Nigeria participation at the World Cup as President of the Nigeria Football Federation had suffered a setback while in Russia.
On Monday, July 2, the Minister of Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, asked Pinnick who has been NFF President since 2014 to obey a court order which required him to step aside as head of the Nigerian football governing body.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has condemned the spate of killings in some parts the country noting that the Plateau attack whether retaliatory or not is a condemnable act.
The attack by suspected herdsmen on some villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau state over the weekend has left scores dead with properties and houses destroyed.
Osinbajo during a visit to the state, on Monday, said the attack by suspected herdsmen on innocent villagers is a condemnable act which everyone must ensure it ends.
“It is the responsibility of everyone of us, especially leadership. The leadership of the communities to ensure that we are able to bring about a situation of lasting peace. We must ensure that we don’t allow a situation where anybody gets away with this sort of killings.
“In the particular case of this local government, we were told that herdsmen attacked the village. This is a condemnable act. There is no reason whatsoever for killing any Nigerian. Even according to the law, if a killing has taken place you are not allowed to kill in return. If you do it, it is as criminal as the very first act itself. This is an act that is condemned,” Osinbajo said.
The Vice President also noted that it is the responsibility of residents and their leaders to protect their community from falling victim of religious violence. he urged the residents and their leader to, “seize the moment, to ensure that this is not allowed to continue.”
“We may have greater problems. We must not allow this to continue.
“We must not allow in this country, a religious crisis that becomes uncontrollable. If this sort of thing continues to happen, we will have the kind of crisis that we should not have,” Osinbajo said.
The Vice President’s comment is coming after their had been earlier claims that the Plateau attack might be a reprisal by herdsmen.
Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the special assistant on media and communication to the group’s president, Reverend Samson Ayokunle also condemned the weekend attack in Plateau State.
The group lamented that despite assurances and promises by President Muhammadu Buhari that his government was committed to the safety of lives and property of Nigerians, “coordinated and premeditated” attacks have continued in Plateau and other states.
He, however, maintained that President Muhammadu Buhari has clearly demonstrated why his administration is better than the previous governments.
“From all I have seen in government in the past few years, the corruption of the previous five years is what destroyed the Nigerian economy. Every time we talk, we as a party, and your government must show the difference between us and the party and government that impoverished our nation,” Osinbajo had said.
The vice-president of Mauritius assumed temporary power on Friday a week after the resignation of President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim over allegations of a credit card scandal.
A statement from the presidency said Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory had assumed the functions of the president on 23 March.
He will hold the position until he is either confirmed by parliament or someone else is appointed.
Gurib-Fakim, Africa’s only female head of state, submitted her resignation in the “national interest” following accusations that she used a bank card provided by an NGO to make personal purchases, including jewellery and luxury goods worth at least 25,000 euros.
In a statement, as she handed over power on Friday, Gurib-Fakim said she had “a heavy heart” but insisted that she would be cleared by any investigation.