FG Has Disbursed N38bn In Loans Over Four Years, Says Osinbajo

 

The Federal Government has disbursed no fewer than N38 billion in loans to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSEs) over the past four years.

This is according to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who spoke on Thursday at an event organised by the Aisha Buhari Foundation in Abuja.

He lamented that the global COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp drop in income of most families in the country, as well as economies of the world.

Osinbajo also noted that employment has taken a dive, especially as the pandemic largely affected young people who make up the majority of the workforce.

A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

While stating that President Muhammadu Buhari has initiated policies at empowering women, he said the Federal Government has ensured that its social and entrepreneurial programmes have an affirmative component for the female folks.

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“A total of 38 billion in loans have been disbursed over the past for years. And of the 1.1 million beneficiaries of conditional cash transfer, 98 per cent are women,” he said.

“Of the 2.4 million beneficiaries of our Government Enterprises and Empowerment Programme, 1.4 million people were women – that is 56.4 per cent of beneficiaries were women.

The Vice President stated that in 2020, the Federal Executive Council approved a World Bank credit facility in the sum of $500 million to finance the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment Project, to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted areas of participating states which are Borno, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi and Plateau.

He equally addressed violence and other abuses against women, recalling efforts made by the government to enhance access to justice for victims.

“In November 2019, in an effort to enhance access to justice, we secured a toll-free emergency number and shortcode for the FCT- SGBV Response Team, with the generous support of Airtel,” said the Vice President.

“We also developed Referral Guidelines for Gender-Based Violence Response in Nigeria and a National Guide for the Establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centres in Nigeria, to further enhance coordination.

“Also in 2019, the President directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a special panel to investigate cases of unlawful arrests, assault and Sexual & Gender-Based Violence in the Federal Capital Territory following complaints of raids of night clubs and arrests of women by the police.”

Commending the Future Assured programme for the impact of its interventions across health, education and social welfare, Osinbajo said, “it certainly has been an exciting six years.”

He listed some of the impactful projects executed by the initiative as “the educational initiatives, especially the Youth Education Empowerment Programme (YEEP) where large numbers of youths are given tutorial classes in preparation for WAEC, NECO, NABTEB and JAMB; and support to IDPs that return to their communities with relief materials, including foodstuff, clothing, beddings, and building materials.”

Aside from the First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, other dignitaries present at the event include Osinbajo’s wife, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; his counterpart in the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, Godswill Akpabio; and top United Nations officials, among others.

Nigeria Has What It Takes To Become A Leader In Healthcare, Says Osinbajo

A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Nigeria must take its own destiny into its hands, build local capacities that will ensure health access to the people, and take advantage of the opportunity to become a leading nation in healthcare.

This is the submission of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is of the firm belief that there are already clear indications that “we are well on the way” to getting the job done.

Delivering a speech on Monday at the International Conference on Health Access beyond COVID-19 in Abuja, Professor Osinbajo highlighted the country’s strength in the area of healthcare while emphasising major steps Nigeria should take to improve its health system.

According to him, one of the eye-openers from the COVID-19 pandemic “is that despite infrastructural weaknesses, we have an experienced and robust public health system, peopled by some of the best personnel in the world, but more importantly (is) the huge opportunities for becoming a leading nation in healthcare.”

The Vice President, while buttressing his point on building local capacity, noted that the pandemic revealed further that “every nation is on her own in a global pandemic and how vaccine-rich nations at some point even banned exports in order to meet local needs, it is clear that we must take our destiny in our own hands. And there is great potential.

“Last December, the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) launched a new set of COVID-19 test kits that can produce results in 57 minutes. The new kit was designed by Joseph Shaibu, a molecular virologist at NIMR.”

Professor Osinbajo declared that “the healthcare system of our dreams is ahead of us, we know what we want and what is possible. We have the men and women with the required expertise; what we need is more diligent and focused management.

“Only recently, the President established the healthcare reform committee which I have the privilege of chairing. That may well be at least one of the vehicles for ensuring that we are able to make some of our dreams come true.”

He described the setting up of the committee as one of the ways the present administration was making concerted efforts towards transforming the nation’s health sector.

The Vice President listed other measures to include funding for healthcare research, as well as developing solutions in pharmaceuticals and medical consumables, and the health sector component of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).

“It is evident that the way forward is more funding for health care research and for innovators to develop solutions in pharmaceuticals and medical consumables,” he stated.

“Our administration established the Healthcare Sector Intervention Fund Facility which has disbursed N76.98 billion to finance the acquisition and installation of critical medical equipment, as well as the expansion of production lines in various pharmaceutical companies across the country.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria is also supporting a number of research and development initiatives in the health sector. In all, a total of N233 billion in grants has been disbursed.

“In our Economic Sustainability Plan designed to mitigate and take advantage of the consequences of the pandemic, one of the cross-cutting issues identified for action was the development of Nigeria’s capacity to become Africa’s hub for the manufacture of generic drugs.”

The conference themed “Health Access and Social-Economic Development Beyond COVID-19: The First Multisectoral Approach to Solution Finding” was a two-day event with several Nigerian scientists and vice-chancellors in attendance.

Ekiti’s GDP Higher Than Many African Nations – Osinbajo

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that Ekiti State has a higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than several African countries.

He said this on Thursday while delivering an address during the Fountain Summit 2021 hosted by Ekiti State.

“Two Saturdays ago, I represented Mr President at the swearing-in ceremony of the new president of the Sao Tome and Principe Republic.

“As I sat in that well-appointed hall and took in the solemn grandeur of the oath-taking of the new democratically elected president, I reflected. Here was a country whose GDP is $472 million and it’s a nation.

“It has one vote in the United Nations just as we have. Ekiti State has a GDP of $2.8 billion – five times the GDP of the nation of Sao Tome and Principe but it’s not just Sao Tome and Principe,” VP Osibanjo said.

“Ekiti’s GDP is higher than that of the nation of Gambia. Gambia has a GDP of $1.9 billion and also a higher GDP than that of Cape Verde with a GDP of $1.7 billion or Seychelles, the lovely tourist destination which has just $1.1 billion.

“Ekiti’s GDP is the same as the GDP of Liberia which just has $2.95 billion and we’re talking about Ekiti State now, we’re not even talking about Lagos.

“So the Nigerian sub-national is indeed a peculiar animal such that even a relatively small state (in terms of population in particular) and even allocations, has a bigger economy than many African nations”.

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The Vice President, therefore, said there’s a need for sub-nationals to begin to maximise this fact and start to think like a sovereign state.

“So hopefully, the useful point to be made here, is that there has to be a collective change of mindset. There’s a need for a sub-national to think like a sovereign state – you have a bigger GDP and even more revenue than many nations”.

Tagged: Investment Attractiveness and Economic Development: Lessons for Sub-Nationals, other key speakers at the event include the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki; Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-rufai, and the host Governor, Kayode Fayemi.

Age Does Not Determine Competence To Rule, Says Osinbajo


 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says age should never be a barrier for young Nigerians to get involved in holding strategic positions, especially political offices.

He believes political office holders do not necessarily have to be very old, but such persons only require some experience to get the job done.

“If you are going to get in, in the Nigerian system, in this system of ours, to walk through all that is required, I think you need some experience, a bit of it, you don’t have to be very old,” the Vice President said on Monday in Abuja during a book launch.

“But it helps if you have served in one capacity or the other as a special adviser or special assistant, all of those positions are very central positions. I don’t agree that a special assistant or a P.A. is not a somewhat serious position.

“Every special assistant or special adviser that I have, take very important decisions, and they take those very important decisions on their own. And the truth is that the way governments are set up, everybody there can play a very serious role; it depends on how very serious you are.”

According to him, a majority of the people prefer liberal politics, free enterprise, democracy, and individual freedom.

A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

For the Vice President, this means that there can be no discrimination either on the basis of age, gender, or political persuasion.

He stressed the need to remove the barriers to ensure a level playing field for all, saying he had the opportunity to bring young people on board.

The quality of the contributions, according to Professor Osinbajo, is not necessarily defined by age and the focus should be on what people bring to the table.

“I had been adviser to the Attorney-General of the Federation when I was 31, so I had some experience coming into this,” he said.

“So, there is a place for preparation, a place for getting ready. There is no point saying that I have become Minister of Finance at the age of 25 because I am a smart kid; it takes more than that.”

The launch of the book by Senator Babafemi Ojudu and Alex James titled: ‘Politics That Works – What Schools and Seminars Won’t Teach You About Winning Elections’ held at the NAF conference centre in the nation’s capital.

What Osinbajo Said At Sao Tome And Principe’s Presidential Inauguration

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with the President of Sao Tome and Principe, Carlos Vila Nova, at the Presidential Villa in Sao Tome on October 2, 2021.

 

Nigeria’s relationship with the twin-island Central African nation of Sao Tome and Principe has been growing over the years and would even now be further strengthened.

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, made the assertion on Saturday at the inauguration of the new President of Sao Tome and Principe, Carlos Vila Nova, in Sao Tome city.

“We think that Sao Tome and Principe is an important partner and we have a very strategic relationship, which is why we are here not just to felicitate with the new President, but to re-establish a relationship, a relationship which by the way has been growing from strength to strength over the years,” Professor Osinbajo who represented President Buhari at the event was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

He stated that both countries were looking at strengthening bilateral relations because of the strategic partnership between them

“We have a joint development arrangement especially with respect to the oil and gas sector where we share a common interest. We are also looking at strengthening relationships in other respects [such as] hospitality, agriculture, and all of that,” he added.

While felicitating with the new President, the Vice President promised that Nigeria would re-establish stronger ties with the island country.

Later, President Vila Nova held his first bilateral meeting as Sao Tome and Principe leader with Professor Osinbajo at the Presidential Office in Sao Tome city, where both leaders exchanged pleasantries and expressed readiness to deepen diplomatic and economic relationships.

The Vice President was accompanied by the Foreign Affairs Minister of State, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, and joined by some members of the House of Representatives and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Sao Tome and Principe, Christopher Chiejina.

He has since returned to Abuja.

The event which held at the country’s Parliament Building was attended by leaders from Africa and Europe.

They include President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebeto; President of Guinea Bissau, Sissolo Embalo; Vice President of Angola, Bonito De Sousa, and other dignitaries.

The inauguration was also witnessed by the immediate past President, Carlos Carvalho, and the Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, Jorge Bom Jesus.

Osinbajo In Attendance As NDDC Commissions Police Special Protection Unit In Rivers

The newly commissioned Police Special Protection Unit

 

The Niger Delta Development Commission is commissioning the Police Special Protection Unit in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The police Base 6 is situated at Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the oil-rich state.

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In attendance are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkai Baba, among other top government officials and security operatives.

Osinbajo To Represent Nigeria At ECOWAS Meeting In Accra

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) boarding an aircraft.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) will be representing Nigeria at the 2nd Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on the political situation in the Republic of Guinea.

The Vice President who left Abuja on Thursday morning for Accra, Ghana, was accompanied by the Foreign Affairs Minister of State, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, and is expected back in Abuja later in the day.

This was disclosed in a statement by his media aide, Laolu Akande.

Professor Osinbajo had participated virtually in the previous ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on the political situation in Guinea and Mali on September 8.


RELATED

Coup: ECOWAS Foreign Ministers To Visit Guinea

ECOWAS Envoy: Deposed Guinea President Alpha Conde Is Well


 

The leaders had, at the meeting, decided that Guinea would be immediately suspended from all ECOWAS governing bodies and statutory meetings.

They had also called for the immediate and unconditional release of President Alpha Conde and other arrested persons, demanded the immediate return of Guinea to constitutional order, and decided to immediately dispatch a high-level ECOWAS mission to Guinea to assess the situation.

The physical meeting taking place today will review the situation in the west-African country in the light of the report of the ECOWAS high-level mission to Conakry.

Guinea Coup: Osinbajo Seeks Strict Measures Against Nations Where Military Seizes Power

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo represents President Muhammadu Buhari at a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS Member-States on the political developments in the Republics of Guinea and Mali on September 8, 2021.

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has called for stricter measures taken against nations where military takes over government by force.

He made the call on Wednesday at a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member-states on the political developments in the Republics of Guinea and Mali.

According to the Vice President who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the meeting, one of such stricter measures that could be taken would be a suspension from the international community.

“Could we, for example, work out an understanding with the UN, AU, Commonwealth and possibly, even the development finance institutions we are a part of to act in unity to suspend a country where there has been a seizure of power from all these bodies simultaneously?” he asked.

Professor Osinbajo believes such a measure will prevent subsequent coups d’etat in the sub-region, and even on the continent.

The meeting, attended by 10 of the ECOWAS leaders, alongside others, including representatives from the United Nations, comes after Guinean President, Alpha Conde, was ousted by a coup d’etat in the West African country on September 5.

This culminated in his arrest and detention by the country’s military junta, as well as the dissolution of the Guinean government and suspension of the Constitution.

 

‘Zero-Tolerance For Coups’

Osinbajo, who stated Nigeria’s position on the unfortunate development in Guinea, joined other global leaders to condemn the unconstitutional change of government in that – a development which he said could seriously destabilise the Republic of Guinea.

“What happened in Guinea is a brazen disregard for the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which clearly states that every accession to power must be made through a free, fair and transparent election,” he was quoted as saying in a communique by his media aide, Laolu Akande.

“The unconstitutional seizure of power in any shape or form is simply unacceptable; four coups within the last few months is a dangerous trend indeed.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo attends a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS Member-States on the political developments in the Republics of Guinea and Mali on September 8, 2021.

 

The Vice President Prof. Osinbajo went ahead to table an idea which the Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, described as “a proposal of great weight.”

“We are sliding back to the infamous 60s. Our zero-tolerance for coups is important but clearly insufficient. Are there further steps that we can take to prevent coups d’etat? he questioned.

Professor Osinbajo stressed the need for countries in the sub-region to respect the provisions against unconstitutional accession to power and to apply it in all instances.

“The Authority (should) to immediately invoke the provisions of Article 45 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance by suspending Guinea from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies and statutory meetings.

“We should also take any other necessary punitive measures that will ensure that the military junta does not overstay in power,” he proposed.

“We must forestall a repeat of military interventions and the instability it engenders in the West African sub-region. In this connection, Nigeria wishes to once again urge all to always respect the principles of democracy and the constitutions of your respective countries.”

Furthermore, the Vice President urged the ECOWAS body to immediately appoint a mediator to lead the region’s genuine engagement with the military junta, all political actors, and civil society groups in Guinea towards finding a lasting solution that would return the country to democratic rule as soon as possible.

One of the other steps to be taken in finding a lasting solution to the unfortunate development in Guinea, according to him, is for the military junta not to only ensure the physical safety of President Conde and all those detained along with him, but also ensure his immediate and unconditional release.

“The safety of lives and property of the people of Guinea must also be guaranteed. The military must draw up a timetable for a civilian-led transition and commence the process of exiting the Guinean political stage and return the country to constitutional order and civilian rule,” Professor Osinbajo submitted.

Speaking on the update on the situation in Mali, he commended former President Goodluck Jonathan for his continued commitment and engagement with the various stakeholders in that country.

“Let me reiterate the imperative for the Malian Transitional government to strictly respect the electoral timetable unveiled on 15th April 2021,” said the Vice President.

“I further call for the continued support and collaboration of all the major players in the country’s march towards a successful transition.

“Nigeria will continue to closely monitor the situations in Guinea and Mali, as well as work with the ECOWAS Commission, the African Union, and other member-states to facilitate the return of both countries to civil governance.”

Buhari Approves Health Reform Committee, Names Osinbajo Chairman

President Muhammadu Buhari with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at a virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Abuja on September 1, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the creation of a Health Sector Reform Committee to partner with state governments and the FCT administration on how to develop the nation’s health sector.

The committee, to be chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, would undertake a review of all healthcare reforms adopted in the past two decades as well as lessons learnt, and factor them into the development of the new health sector reform programme.

Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement issued on Monday, noting that the committee would function for a period of six months.

Members of the committee will include private and public sector health care management professionals, development partners, representatives from the National Assembly, as well as the Nigeria Governors Forum among others.

“The committee will undertake a review of all healthcare reforms adopted in the past two decades and lessons learnt and factor them into the development of the new health sector reform programme,” the statement said.

“The committee which is set up for a period of six months under the chairmanship of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has members drawn from private and public sector health care management professionals, development partners, representatives from the National Assembly, as well as the Nigeria Governors Forum among others.”

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The members include Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa; the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises, Alex Okoh; a Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at University College London and Director of the UCL Institute for Global Health, Prof Ibrahim Abubakar among others.

According to Shehu, the setting up of the committee is sequel to a health sector diagnostic review report developed by a consultant, Vesta Healthcare Partners and the Federal Ministry of Health.

Vesta Healthcare Partners and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are to serve as resources persons and have observer roles in the committee.

Meanwhile, the President Buhari has also approved the appointment of Dr Ifedayo Adetifa as the new Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Adetifa replaces former NCDC Chief, Chikwe Ihekweazu, who recently got a new job as the Assistant Director-General of Health Emergency Intelligence at the World Health Organisation (WHO).

AfCFTA: Osinbajo Lists Policy Actions To Drive Industrialisation In Africa

A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has called on authorities across the continent to take the right policy actions to actualise the limitless opportunities for the industrialisation of Africa offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He stated this in a message delivered on Thursday at a ‘Roundtable on Industrialisation in Africa’ in which he listed such actions to include the protection of local industries and improvement of value chains.

The roundtable themed “Positioning African Industries for Economic Transformation and Continental Free Trade” was organised by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to celebrate its Golden Jubilee.

“For certain, the AfCFTA is indispensable if industrial development is to take off in Africa because it offers wider markets and economies of scale which are essential for manufacturing to be competitive,” the Vice President was quoted as saying by his media aide, Laolu Akande.

“We must take policy actions to create an environment in which businesses can thrive. To start with, we must adopt the right type of macroeconomic and industrial policies.

“It is important for African governments to provide a stable macroeconomic environment which avoids and smoothens out volatility in prices, sharp deteriorations in the current account and budget deficits and, of course, rapid accumulation in debt burdens.”

On actions that will boost manufacturing, Professor Osinbajo believes policies like tariffs, quotas, subsidies, and non-tariff barriers, that protect infant industries so that they can create jobs and enable learning, are vital.

He stressed the importance of well-negotiated rules of origin in the context of the free trade agreements, describing them as key to preventing trans-shipment and the deflection of trade.

The Vice President stated that without them, firms from non-state parties could set up simple labelling operations in one member state with a view to shipping already finished products to another member state without really adding any value.

He explained that it was important for MAN to involve itself in an advisory capacity to government negotiators.

“Our manufacturers must also strive to become competitive after clearly specified time periods so that they can withstand the ever-present danger of stiff competition from imports,” said Professor Osinbajo. “In other words, while our manufacturing industries must be nurtured and supported, they cannot remain infants forever.

“One of the ways to increase the competitiveness of African industries is to develop and deepen regional value chains wherein production systems starting from conception and design right through to supply of raw materials, processing, transport, storage, marketing, and sales take place within our countries and continent.”

Meanwhile, the Vice President is expected to depart Abuja on a short visit to Arusha, Tanzania where he will be received by his Tanzanian counterpart, Dr Philip Mpango.

While in Arusha, he would visit the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR), an African Union agency in Arusha, among other engagements before he returns to Abuja on Monday.

To Deal With Tensions, Leaders Must Make Sacrifices – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

 

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on leaders to make sacrifices in order to deal with tensions among people of different faiths and ethnicities in the country.

He stated this on Monday while receiving a delegation from the Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) – led by its Executive Chairman Mr Disu Kamor –  at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“There is a need to understand first of all, that there is no way that we can deal with the tensions between the faiths and ethnicities in Nigeria today unless those in leadership are prepared to make some important sacrifices,” Osinbajo said while citing the efforts of late South African leader Nelson Mandela and Imam Abubakar Abdullahi of Barkin Ladi in Plateau State.

“Those sacrifices are sacrifices even in what you say, how you say it, and then sacrifices also in the acknowledgment of whatever people are saying and the willingness to accept.”

Osinbajo also called for interfaith dialogue, emphasizing the importance of language and communication to prevent violence.

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He added that leaders should also deploy dialogue which he said is crucial especially “at this time”

According to him, “We can all talk nicely and say the right things but unless people are prepared to make some concessions which may cost them popularity within their own group, we cannot move forward.

“It is very important that we don’t diminish the importance of language and respectful non-violent communication so that we are able to keep our discussions at a level that ensures that we don’t degenerate too quickly to violence.”

“These are stories of people who are not only political or religious leaders but just ordinary people, doing the right thing. Unless we are prepared to not just talk about it but to make an open display, first of all, of those who are doing the right things, but more importantly, challenging our leaders to say the right things and to be prepared to risk some popularity in order to do so, then we will just be wasting a lot of time,” he stated further.

MPAC is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of peacebuilding and interfaith cohesion, among others.

Better Security, Economy More Likely Where There Is Unity, Says Osinbajo

A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

A united people working together are more likely to be economically successful, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said.

Professor Osinbajo stated this on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa by a delegation from the Arewa Concerned People for National Unity and Religious Tolerance from Kano, led by Auwal Maidabino, and Prince Usman Ado-Bayero.

“There is no great nation anywhere that has not had this sort of challenge, especially where you have a multi-racial, multi-religious setup,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

“The greatest nations in the world are multi-racial, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic. As a matter of fact, some of these things are as important as the economy and security … for the reason that a united people – people who see themselves as one – are more likely to be economically successful, more likely to be able to secure themselves and secure their borders, and more likely to work together for the goodness and greatness of their people.”

The Vice President told the delegation that it was the duty of the leadership – political and social – to ensure that the nation focuses on the issues of unity and tolerance.

According to him, religious tolerance and unison is a matter that goes beyond mere advocacy and the greatness of any nation is on account of leaders who deem it fit to build it on the basis of unity and tolerance.

“I think that it is such an important issue that we cannot afford to discount it,” Professor Osinbajo said. “There is a need for us to pay more time and attention to these issues in whatever way we can.

“Every once in a while, we see some threats to the unity of our country, and we must not allow it to happen at all. We must continue not just in the advocacy, but in action that will bring about unity and religious tolerance.”

In his remarks, Maidabino commended the Vice President for his innovative approach to governance and the several initiatives of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, anchored through his office.

His host, he stated, has impacted many Nigerians across different sectors through various schemes such as TraderMoni, National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, N-Power, and the Ease of Doing Business initiative, among others.

“We wish to commend and congratulate you for your contributions in the area of promotion of good governance, transparency, and efficiency as exemplified with the core principles behind the Ease of Doing Business initiative of this government, and for the continuation of your uncompromising dedication to peace, unity, and economic progress, among others,” said Maidabino.

He also informed the Vice President of plans by the group to convene a national forum on unity as part of its contributions to supporting peaceful coexistence and harmony among Nigerians.