Tag Archives: presidency

Electricity: Presidency says Niger, Benin owe Nigeria up to N1.4bn

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Two of Nigeria’s closest neighbours, Benin and Niger owe the country up to N1.4bn, the Presidency revealed on Tuesday.

In a statement, signed by spokesman Garba Shehu, addressing a report questioning why the nation was exporting electricity to neighbouring countries on credit – while blackouts persist nationwide – the Presidency noted that, as at 2019, the debt owed by four countries totalled $69m.

“As of the last review in 2019, the amount of indebtedness to all three customers stood at $69 million, subsequent upon which several payments were made to NBET,” the statement said. “Much of this has been repaid by the debtor nations.

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“As of today, Niger owes only USD 16 million and Benin, USD 4 million, adding up to the Naira equivalent of about N1.2bn.”

Why Nigeria Exports Power Despite Local Shortage?
The Presidency statement on Tuesday explained that the country exports power to neighbouring countries in respect of multilateral agreement that prevents the damming of water sources into the nation’s main hydropower stations.

“Power exported to Niger, Benin and Togo based on Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement with the Government of Nigeria is on the basis that they would not dam the waters that feed our major power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba,” the Presidency said.

“The essence of said bilateral agreements, by which we give them power and they do not build dams on the River Niger means that Nigeria and her brotherly neighbours had avoided the unfolding situation of the Nile River between the sovereign states of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.”


#Newsworthy…

Presidency reveal why Nigeria export electricity to Benin and Togo

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The Presidency on Tuesday said Nigeria exports power to neighbouring countries in order to prevent the damming of water that feeds the nation’s major power plants.

On Monday, a Nigerian newspaper, Punch, had published a report describing how Nigeria has continued to export electricity to other countries on credit while blackouts persist within its borders.

As a response to the report, the Presidency, via a statement signed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu, described the report as “hyperbolic and terribly misleading.”

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The Presidency said the newspaper’s credit figures were “far from accurate, out-dated and therefore not reflective of the current reality.”

It also added that over 90 percent of the electricity generated in the country was distributed and consumed by Nigerians.

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.

The Presidency revealed that as of the last review in 2019, the amount of indebtedness to Niger, Benin, and Togo stood at $69 million.

According to it, Niger owes $16 million and Benin, $4 million as of today, adding up to the naira equivalent of about N1.2 billion.

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Read the full statement below:

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

PUNCH’S INACCURATE REPORTING ON THE SALE OF POWER TO NEIGHBORING NATIONS NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED

It is most disappointing that sensationalism has dominated the thinking and ethos of institutions that citizens look up to with trust, confidence and reliability. Monday edition of the Punch checks all the boxes in terms of an abject failure to honour these time-tested traditions with its news piece: “NIGERIA EXPORTS USD81.48bn ELECTRICITY ON CREDIT AS COUNTRY’S BLACKOUT PERSISTS,” is, to say the least, hyperbolic and terribly misleading.

Apart from the fact that the figure quoted is far from accurate, out-dated and therefore not reflective of the current reality, the overall cost of power generated and sold by Nigeria in the period covered by the report is not anywhere close to what was mentioned by the paper.

The actual cost of electricity generated within the said timeframe (2018-2019) by all the electricity generation companies in Nigeria was about N1.2 trillion ($4 billion).

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Over 90% of the electricity generated was distributed and consumed by consumers across the 11 electricity distribution companies in the country.

Power exported to Niger, Benin and Togo based on Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement with the Government of Nigeria is on the basis that they would not dam the waters that feed our major power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba.

As of the last review in 2019, the amount of indebtedness to all three customers stood at $69 million, subsequent upon which several payments were made to NBET. Much of this has been repaid by the debtor nations.

As of today, Niger owes only USD 16 million and Benin, USD 4 million, adding up to the Naira equivalent of about N1.2bn.

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The essence of said bilateral agreements, by which we give them power and they do not build dams on the River Niger means that Nigeria and her brotherly neighbours had avoided the unfolding situation of the Nile River between the sovereign states of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

In the future, we advise the newspaper to seek clarity from the market operator which is the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. This process of fact-checking only improves your standing in the public arena.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

July 28, 2020


#Newsworthy…

NDDC’s interim mgt committee still intact – Presidency

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The Presidency says it has not dissolved the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

This position was disclosed in the early hours of Friday by President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

Adesina said there is a statement purportedly signed by him which has been making the rounds that the Federal Government has dissolved the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC.

He adds that the publication is an action by the Merchants of fake news.

The spokesman urged Nigerians to disregard the report, stressing that the communication did not emanate from the media office of the President.

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In recent times that have been calls by the National Assembly for the dissolution of the Interim Management Committee and the return of the NDDC to the Presidency for direct supervision.

This comes on the heels of revelations into the financial recklessness in the NDDC.

On Thursday, the Senate ad hoc committee investigating the NDDC said the agency had spent N1.3 trillion within four years, with some of the spending unlawful.

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The committee revealed the figure during the presentation of its investigative report before the Senate days after the acting NDDC Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, slumped at a public hearing.

In the report read by the Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, the NDDC spent the N1.3 trillion between 2015 and May 31, 2019.

Many of the expenses, Adetunmbu said, were extra-budgetary.

He added that the Committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.

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He said the committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.

The investigation further revealed that the NDDC paid 4.9 billion Naira to staff for numerous allowances including COVID-19 relief, tour duty allowances, overseas travel, and international scholarships.

Curiously, the payment for overseas travel and scholarship was during the lockdown and cessation of flights abroad.

The committee also observed that the ministry of Niger delta is culpable if negligent supervision of the NDDC.

It further noted that the performance of the interim management committee IMC is a major issue as the record of the IMC has not shown any record of prudence and it should be dissolved.


#Newsworthy…

Buhari’s resignation, impossible – Presidency tells PDP

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The presidency has reacted to the calls made by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for President Muhammadu Buhari to resign.

In a statement issued on Friday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said his principal will not heed to calls made by the PDP.

“President Buhari will not resign. He is determined to continue the crusade against corruption, both legacy and recently unearthed cases, that are found to be shabbily handled, and in some cases unattended to by past administrations,” the statement partly read.

The presidential spokesman accused the PDP of launching what he describes as a whirlwind campaign that promotes “undemocratic values, the latest manifestation of which is the call for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation for allowing audits and investigation into several agencies of government, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.”

While noting that opposition helps democracy to strive, Shehu alleged that the “leading party in opposition is afflicted by a life-threatening sickness, the undemocratic pandemic as a result of which they are trading away the nation’s democratic values.”

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According to him, the PDP cannot scare the government from probing the grave allegations made against the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, adding that failure to do so will amount to a historic betrayal of public trust.

He therefore insisted that the opposition party cannot subject the nation’s democracy to “subterranean attacks and continue to pretend that they are well-meaning.”

His response come shortly after the PDP Chairman, Uche Secondus accused President Buhari’s administration of failing to tackle insecurity and attempting to sweep allegations of corruption under the carpet.

Speaking during a news briefing in the nation’s capital Abuja, Secondus said the rising insecurity in the country across the country has exposed the poor leadership in the military and ruling class.


#Newsworthy…

Presidency joins force with Senate to sack service chiefs – New report

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The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday called on Service Chiefs to “step aside”.

On Wednesday, a source close to the federal government claimed that the Senate resolution was reached at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

On Friday July 17, President Muhammadu Buhari had a parley with Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The source asserted that the meeting agreed that the legislature should demand the ouster of the Service Chiefs.

He said: “The lawmakers are providing cover for Mr. President to execute his plan to replace the top military hierarchy. Their removal was sealed at the meeting.

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“You asked why Mr. President has not fired them already? This has been long delayed for reasons best known to him; he now has the rationale.

“Also remember, after that meeting, he warned ministers and heads of agencies to respect the National Assembly.

“That comment was not just about their attitude, disregard for lawmakers’ invitation/summons or ongoing investigative hearings.

“All of these fit into a bigger political play. NASS is being used to provide cover for Mr. President to do what he wants to.”

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The military chiefs, appointed by Buhari in 2015, clocked 5 years in office on July 13.

Arguably, their tenure is the longest enjoyed by security heads since Nigeria became an independent country.

They are Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin – Chief of Defence Staff; Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai – Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas – Chief of Naval Staff, and Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar – Chief of Air Staff.

But despite the spate of insecurity, Buhari has refused to fire them.
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Nigerians and groups have been protesting even in the face of Police harassment and intimidation.

This has not deterred them from condemning the president for retaining the quartet.

They say Buhari, a retired General, only issues occasional directives that are yet to change the situation.

Security and the economy were the two issues the president and the All Progressives Congress (APC) based their electioneering campaign on.

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On a weekly basis, officers and soldiers fighting Boko Haram/ISWAP are killed in action, with some deserting or resigning from the Armed Forces.

Hundreds of marauding terrorists and bandits continue to maim civilians; women and children are not spared.

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Nigeria’s security challenge may be aggravated with the invitation to bandits operating in North-Central and North-West by Boko Haram factional leader, Abubakar Shekau.

A Shekau commander requested “brothers in Lake Chad, Cameroon, Sambisa, Niger State, Zamfara State”, and other locations to join the sect.

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“Keep doing it (attacks) because Allah instructed us in the Holy Quran to strive harder for His cause. Allah has instructed us to kill everyone that is unbelieving.

“We thank God who put us on this path, to promote His words and institute His law. We call you to join us to institute Sharia globally. When you come, we will accept you according to (Shari’ah) law, and we (will) worship Allah as He commands us.”

Meanwhile, going by the latest position, Nigerian lawmakers too have had enough.

On Tuesday, the Senate told the Service Chiefs to go after considering a motion on the rising number of casualties in the Nigerian Army and other security agencies.

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The motion for their resignation was contained in a proposed amendment to the resolutions of the Senate.

It was moved by Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (PDP – Osun East) and seconded by Betty Apiafi (PDP – Rivers West).

The Red Chamber also urged Buhari to urgently provide modern equipment to enhance the operational capabilities of the military.

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Ali Ndume (APC – Borno South), sponsor of the original motion, under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, recalled that 24 soldiers were recently ambushed and killed along Damboa – Maiduguri road in Borno State.

He decried that similarly, 19 were wounded and 9 declared missing.

“The Senate is disturbed that in Katsina again, about 20 soldiers were also ambushed and killed while several others were wounded. The Senate appreciates the sacrifices of our armed forces in the fight against insurgency, banditry and protection of the territorial integrity of Nigeria,” he said.

Ndume warned that if the trend continues, there will be grievous implications on the fight against insurgency and banditry in Africa’s biggest nation.

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After one minute silence in honour of fallen soldiers, the Senate mandated the joint committee on Army, Air Force, Navy, National Security and Nigeria Police, to receive briefings on the current conditions of affairs.

Lawan charged the committee to look into the desertion of soldiers battling enemies of the state.

“The spirit of this motion is that our Armed Forces are trying very hard, but just like the President said, their good is not good enough. We need to continue to encourage and provide for them. They lay their lives on behalf of us.

“It is very sad that some of them are alleged to have deserted the war front. We need to get to the bottom of this. Our joint committee should be able to find out the facts about this allegation of over 200 deserting the war front”, Lawan added.


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: Southern Kaduna killings more ‘complicated’ – Presidency

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The presidency has reacted to the killings in southern Kaduna State, saying that it is more complicated than many people are willing to admit.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, noted that the problem in southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds.

He added that the region enjoys comprehensive security deployments, including the army, special forces of both the army and the Air Force, surveillance aircraft by the Air Force and mobile police units that are on the ground on a 24-hour basis to forestall criminality and keep the peace.

“Unlike other parts of the country, the problem of Southern Kaduna is more complicated than many critics are ready to acknowledge and understand.

“From available security records, the problem in Southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds.

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“It is a situation in which one criminal group will kill a member of another criminal group out of ethnic and religious motivations which in turn leads to the eruption of revenge and counter-revenge, thereby making the job of the security personnel deployed to protect lives more difficult,” the statement read in part.

The presidency, therefore, warned residents against taking laws into their own hands, adding that it makes the job of security personnel more difficult.

Following a series of attacks in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, indigenes took to the streets of the FCT on March 19, 2019, in a protest.

“What is required is for the local authorities to radically improve their intelligence capabilities so that security agencies will be alerted in a timely manner to enable them forestall any planned attacks,” Shehu added.

“The Presidency, in the same manner, condemns the recent attacks by bandits in Igali, Birnin Gwari and Giwa local government areas of the State while urging security agencies to intensify their response,”.

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At least 11 people have been reported killed by gunmen in another attack in Gora Gan Village of Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The latest attack comes barely 24 hours after 21 people were killed by bandits at Kukum Daji village in neighbouring Kaura Local Government Area.

Police authorities have yet to confirm the latest attack, but the Chairman of Zango Kataf Local government Area, Ezekiel Manzah told Media Television (known to Noble Reporters Media) that the attack happened on Monday evening.


#Newsworthy…

Service Chiefs: We’ll do what is best – Presidency says

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The Presidency has reacted to the resolution passed by the Senate on Tuesday, calling for the sack or resignation of the Service Chiefs due to prolonged security challenges in the country.

In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina reiterated the position of the President saying the appointment or sack of Service Chiefs is a Presidential prerogative.

He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times.

The Upper Chamber had called on Nigeria’s service chiefs to step aside as the country continues to grapple with security challenges.

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The Senators made the call during plenary on Tuesday in reaction to a motion by Senator Ali Ndume.

Senator Ndume moved his motion on the back of the recent ambush of soldiers in Katsina and the alleged voluntary resignation of many soldiers.

According to the Senator, both developments and others are worrying.

Despite his concerns about the security situation, Senator Ndume did not call for the dismissal of the service chiefs, neither did he demand that they should step aside.

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The call for them to step aside was made following an additional prayer to his motion in the course of deliberations.

Senator Francis Fadahunsi however made the call for the service chiefs to step aside as part of his contributions to the discourse on the motion.

Other senators okayed the move and passed the resolution for the service chiefs who have been in office since July 2015 to step aside.

The Senators also mandated a joint defence, army, navy, airforce, police and interior committee to engage with the military to ascertain the state of affairs of the armed forces.


#Newsworthy…

[Nigeria] FG boils amid Buhari’s mischievous critics

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Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, made this position known in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

According to the presidential aide, several of these comments, disguised as objective criticisms, are merely speaking the language of the opposition- ”the people who ruined the country during their 16 years of corruption on an industrial scale.”

The statement read in part: ”As many detractors have done lately, these “influencers,” “celebrated columnists” and “editorial comments” do no more than endorse the opposition’s utterly wrong and fallacious position that the President is not in charge of his government.

”Sometimes, we are forced to wonder whether some writers are mindful of the implication of words for the strategic and territorial interests of the nation.

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”An entrenched culture of dissent in our country is not something that anyone, not least a Buhari Presidency wants to stamp down.

”The fact that these baseless and appallingly mischievous attacks can freely be aired is itself evidence of the right to freedom of expression prevailing in the country today.

”Whether it is Ibrahim Magu, Godswill Akpabio, NDDC, NSITF and the others, Nigerians are bound to hold differing opinions, write letters, opinion columns, editorials and even stage lawful protests.

”What is sometimes worrisome is that several of these comments, disguised as objective criticisms are merely speaking the language of the opposition-the people who ruined the country during their 16 years of corruption on an industrial scale.

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”These detractors pick up isolated issues like the ones in the EFCC, NDDC, and incidents of crime and corruption which have been with the country for years, and without any serious effort to uncover them, paint them a phenomena orchestrated and happening because President Buhari’s administration has decided to pursue cases of suspected wrongdoing in the anti-corruption agency, pension funds, NDDC and other government agencies.”

Shehu stated that the Buhari government was the first to point out the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by the EFCC leadership would cause the administration.

”The question to ask is: did they expect the President to draw a curtain over these suspected scandals by not ordering audits and investigations? And for them to turn around to accuse him of a cover up?

”To do a cover up and not order audits and investigations as the President did would amount to a historic betrayal of the mandate and the faith placed in him by the Nigerian people.”

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He, therefore, maintained that President Buhari’s integrity, uprightness and probity are intact and well known.

”Let us remind these so-called editorial writers that ECOWAS, Africa Union and the international community at large recognised President Buhari as Champion of the Anti-Corruption fight in Africa.

According to him, Nigerians are convinced that Buhari is honest, and they voted for him as President against the background of corruption, public policy paralysis and growing menace of terrorists threatening to take over a sizable portion of the nation’s territory.

He further stated that in Buhari’s five years in office, there was not a single charge of corruption against his person.

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”As the leader of the country, President Buhari fully understands and bears the full weight of the solemn oaths he swore to defend the nation’s constitution, its citizens and territory.

”Disinformation is not a viable option for opposition,” he added.

Shehu further stressed that the Buhari government had done nothing to warrant these criticisms.

”Under our laws, you are innocent until proven guilty: Investigation, trial then conviction. Not the other way round.

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”To carry out investigations before condemnation or conviction should not be misconstrued as a weakness or a vacuum in leadership.

”The war against corruption is today at historic crossroads. This is the time all Nigerians should stand together to roll it back.

”President Buhari is determined not to be diverted by unfounded attacks, neither would he compromise the sacred mandate of Nigerians.

”He is determined to get justice for Nigerians on all these corruption cases being pursued,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

Panic as presidency sets to dismiss IMC

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The corruption controversies in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) may be generating tension as the Nigerian Presidency makes move to dissolve the Interim Management Committee (IMC) which members are in the storm of the corruption crisis.

President Muhammadu Buhari has come under pressure to rescue the image of his administration from corruption dents.

Accordingly, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, demanded President Buhari to dissolve the board and sack all the members of the NDDC. Professor Sagay advocated total overhaul of the NDDC and bringing on board fresh members following the allegations of corruption against the IMC.

The PACAC Chairman decried that he was opposed to the character of two of the nominees when the appointments were made by the president, but no one listened to him. Today, he has been vindicated.

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Professor Sagay noted that the question on some NDDC board members degenerated into a bad impression of corruption in the Niger Delta region.

Professor Sagay had declared in an interview: “I will suggest that everybody there should be cleared out and the President should not appoint a new set of people very quickly under temporary conditions so that a permanent board and management can be established in the place that will then be monitored.

“My view is that everybody should be removed right now. Clear the place, sweep it clean. Start afresh with a new set of people.”

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Wednesday commenced two days investigative hearing on the allegations of financial impropriety in the NDDC.

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Chairman of the House Committee on NDDC, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, had at the legislative session on Wednesday emphasized that the expanded interim management of the commission expended N81.5 billion between January and May 2020. Hon. Tunji-Ojo, declared untrue, insinuations that the National Assembly is not in support of government’s efforts to conduct forensic audit of the NDDC.

He noted that the committee allocated funds for forensic audits in the budget even when no request was made by the Commission.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, stated that the attempt to impugn on the integrity of the Committee will continue to fail, he encouraged the panel to be above board in the discharge of its duties.

Also, the Presidency is impressing on President Buhari to set up an investigative panel into the NDDC corruption allegations.


#Newsworthy…

Presidency clears air on APC NEC meeting

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Days after the NEC meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Presidency has said that no one can dictate to President Muhammadu Buhari on where to hold meetings.

Recall with Noble Reporters Media that the meeting which is said to have held at the council chambers was criticized by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The opposition party had claimed that it was unconstitutional for such to hold at the council chambers.

In response, Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, issued a statement saying no one can dictate to the president where he should hold meetings.

He said: “It is necessary that we put records in their correct perspective concerning the recent meeting held by the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which has, unfortunately, drawn criticism due to lack of understanding.

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“The stubborn opinion held by the critics of the administration is that President Muhammadu Buhari had called a political meeting in the “hallowed” chamber of the Federal Executive Council, as if there is a law that says the President is barred from holding meetings in certain sections of the vast Presidential Villa.

“Since the President lives in the Villa, no one can, legally speaking, choose or dictate to him where he can sit to hold meetings. So, what is wrong in the President presenting himself before a camera and a TV screen in a digital conference at a given location within the Villa?

“Just for the sake of the argument, this meeting, we say emphatically, was not convened at the Council Chamber. It was virtual, not a physical meeting.

“Why was it a virtual meeting? The idea was to observe social distancing in view of health concerns. Knowing how small the conference hall of the party is, social distancing would only have been observed in the breach.”


#Newsworthy…

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Amid Abba Kyari’s death, another presidential aide dies | Details

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Sani Yekini, a protocol officer attached to the office of Aisha Buhari, has passed away.

Aisha announced his passing via her official Twitter account. She said the deceased who suffered from a diabetic condition, worked with her for 4 years.

”Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun. On behalf of my family and entire staff of my office, I wish to condole the family of Mr Sani Yekini, a protocol officer in my office who died earlier today.

”May Allah grant him Jannatul Firdaus” she prayed.


#Newsworthy…

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Open Letter to President Buhari.


Former military Governor of Kaduna State, Colonel Dangiwa Umar (rtd), has penned an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

In the letter with the subject “Mr President, please belong to all of us”, Colonel Umar critically reviewed PMB’s five years in office. He warned that the country risks sliding into crisis as Nigeria has become ”dangerously polarized due to Buhari’s lopsided appointments.”

Read the full letter below:

OPEN LETTER FROM COL. DANGIWA UMAR (RTD) TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI

Muhammadu Buhari, Sunday 30th May 2020

President,

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces,

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Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Dear Mr. President,

MR. PRESIDENT; PLEASE BELONG TO ALL OF US.

“One of the swiftest ways of destroying a Kingdom is to give preference of one particular tribe over another or show favor to one group of people rather than another. And to draw near those who should be kept away and keep away those who should be drawn near” Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio.

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I have been prompted to write you this open letter, Mr. President, by the loud sounds of drums, singing and dancing that erupted within many groups in the last few days on the grounds that you attained the 5th year in office as President of Nigeria. It comes as no surprise that enthusiasm for the celebration is not shared equally by segments of the public. While your admirers and supporters believe you have performed well, many others believe the five years you have been in office as our President has not met the yearnings, expectations and change promised Nigerians.

Mr. President, you know me well enough and my position on issues to realize that I can be neither a rabid supporter nor a fanatical opponent of yours. I believe being a responsible citizen is enough reason to wish you well and to work for your success. As we have seen all too clearly these past few years, your success is ours as is your failure. We swim or sink with you!

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You might wish to recall that after the results of the 23rd of February 2019 presidential elections were announced, giving you victory, I addressed a press conference during which I urged the runner-up, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, to concede defeat. The reason was clear: tensions were running high and little missteps by the leaders might ignite violence, as often happened after major elections. Some supporters of Abubakar Atiku disagreed with me and told me off. As it happened, Alhaji Atiku went ahead to mount a legal challenge to the outcome of the elections up to the Supreme Court. Mercifully, his actions did not result in an outbreak of violence as we feared.

At the same occasion, I counselled the declared winner, your good self, to use the opportunity of your second term to redeem your pledge of being a leader and president of all Nigerians.

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On the occasion of the first-year anniversary into your second four-year term, I feel there is an urgent need to revisit this subject matter.

Mr. President, you have often expressed the hope that history will be kind to you. It is within your competence to write that history. But you have less than three years in which to do it. You may wish to note that any authentic history must be devoid of myth. It will be a true, factual rendition of the record of your performance.

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And truth be told, Mr. President, there are quite a lot of things that speak to your remarkable accomplishments, not least of which is that for the first time in our democratic history, a sitting President was defeated. That feat was achieved by Muhammadu Buhari. The reason was the public belief of you as a man of integrity.

The corollary to this is that at the expiration of your 8-year tenure in 2023, your achievements will not be measured solely by the physical infrastructure your administration built. An enduring legacy would be based on those intangible things like how much you uplifted the spirit and moral tone of the nation. How well have you secured the nation from ourselves and from external enemies?

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At this time and in the light of all that have happened since you took office, any conversation with you Mr. President cannot gloss over the chaos that has overtaken appointments into government offices in your administration. All those who wish you and the country well must mince no words in warning you that Nigeria has become dangerously polarized and risk sliding into crisis on account of your administration’s lopsided appointments which continues to give undue preference to some sections of the country over others.

Nowhere is this more glaring than in the leadership cadre of our security services.

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Mr. President, I regret that there are no kind or gentle words to tell you that your skewed appointments into the offices of the federal government, favoring some and frustrating others, shall bring ruin and destruction to this nation.

I need not remind you, Mr. President, that our political history is replete with great acts of exemplary leadership which, at critical moments, managed to pull this nation back from the precipice and assured its continued existence.

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Colonel Dangiwa Umar writes open letter to President Buhari

A few examples will demonstrate this:

In February, 1965, the NPC-led Federal Government was faced with a decision to appoint a successor to the outgoing Nigerian Army General Officer Commanding (GOC), General Welby Everard, a Briton. Four most senior officers were nominated; namely, Brigadiers Aguiyi Ironsi, Ogundipe, Ademulegun and Maimalari. The first three were senior to Maimalari but he was deemed to be more qualified due to his superior commission. He was the first Sandhurst Regular trained officer in the Nigerian Army. His being a Muslim Northerner like the Minister of Defense, Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu and the Prime Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa granted him added advantage by today’s standards. But to the surprise of even the Igbos, and opposition from some senior NPC members, Minister Ribadu recommended Ironsi, pointing to his seniority. The Prime Minister concurred and Aguiyi Ironsi was confirmed as the first indigenous GOC of the Nigerian Army.

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When on 13 February 1976, the Commander-in-Chief, General Murtala Muhammed, was assassinated in a failed Coup de tat, General Olusegun Obasanjo, his deputy and the most senior officer at the time, was sworn in as his successor. The Chief of Army Staff, General T.Y Danjuma, a Northern Christian, was next in line to succeed Obasanjo as the Chief of Staff, SHQ and Deputy Commander in Chief. General Danjuma however waived his right and recommended a much junior officer, Lt. Col. Shehu Musa Yar’adua, for the post. Shehu was promoted two steps up to the rank of Brigadier and appointed Chief of Staff SHQ and Deputy Commander-in-Chief. Lt. Col. Muhammadu Buhari was appointed Minister of Petroleum. This was done to placate Muslim North which was deemed to have lost one of its own, Murtala Muhammed.

Both the chief of staff, Mr. Sunday Awoniyi, and the personal physician Dr Ishaya Audu to the Premier of Northern Nigeria, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, a direct descendant of Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio, were Christians.

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Barely nine years after the civil war in 1979, the NPN Presidential candidate, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, picked an Igbo, Dr Alex Ekwueme, as his running mate. They enjoyed a truly brotherly relationship as President and Vice President. President Shagari’s political advisor, Dr Chuba Okadigbo and National Assembly Liaison, assistant, Dr K.O Mbadiwe, were both Igbos. His economic advisor, Prof. Emmanuel Edozien and his Chief of Personnel Staff Dr Michael Prest, were of Niger Delta extraction. Remarkably, all his military service chiefs were Christians with the exception of his last Chief Army Staff, General Inuwa Wushishi under whose tenure he was removed in a military coup de tat.

Mr. President, as a witness and beneficiary, it is our expectation that you would emulate these great acts of statesmanship. Which is why we have continued to engage with you.

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You may wish to recall that I had cause to appeal to you, to confirm Justice Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria a few days before the expiration of his three months tenure of acting appointment to be replaced by a Muslim Northerner. We were saved that embarrassment when his nomination was sent to the senate by the then acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo. When he was finally confirmed a few days to the end of his tenure, he was removed after a few months and replaced by Justice Muhammed, a Muslim from the North.

May I also invite the attention of Mr. President to the pending matter of appointment of a Chief Judge of the Nigerian Court Appeal which appears to be generating public interest. As it is, the most senior Judge, Justice Monica Dongban Mensem, a northern Christian, is serving out her second three-month term as acting Chief Judge without firm prospects that she will be confirmed substantive head. I do not know Justice Mensem but those who do attest to her competence, honesty and humility.

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She appears eminently qualified for appointment as the substantive Chief Judge of the Court of Appeal as she is also said to be highly recommended by the National Judicial Council. If she is not and is bypassed in favor of the next in line who happens to be another northern Muslim, that would be truly odd. In which case, even the largest contingent of PR gurus would struggle to rebut the charges that you, Mr. President, is either unwilling or incapable of acting on your pledge to belong to everyone — and to no one. I hope you would see your way into pausing and reflecting on the very grave consequences of such failure not just to your legacy but to the future of our great country.

Thank you for your time, Mr. President.

COL. ABUBAKAR DANGIWA UMAR (RTD)


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: PMB receives brief from PTF.


Members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Sunday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the pandemic situation in Nigeria and other measures taken by government at all levels to check the spread of the virus in the country.

The Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, had told journalists on Thursday that the PTF would brief the president on how the national response had progressed in the last two weeks.

Nigeria is in the second phase of the gradual relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown in some parts of the country.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), led the team comprising the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehinare, the Director-General of Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, and National Coordinator of the PTF on COVID-19, Dr. Aliyu Sani, to the president.

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Nigeria currently has 9,855 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 273 fatalities.

However, 2,856 persons have been discharged from various isolation facilities across the country.


#Newsworthy…

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Presidency, AfDB kick as US demand probe.


Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank (AfDB), says he is innocent of allegations of corruption against him.

The former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria said this in a statement he signed on Wednesday.

The United States Department of Treasury had called for an independent corruption probe of Adesina after he was cleared by the bank’s ethics committee.

Adesina noted that he was overwhelmed by the tremendous support received from around the world.

The president reiterated his absolute confidence in the integrity of the AfDB, its governance systems, rules and procedures.

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Appreciating shareholders’ support, Adesina said he remained positive that ultimately, the bank will emerge stronger than before and continue to support Africa’s development drive.”

Adesina disclosed that he draws great inspiration from his heroes, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Anan whose lives showed that people grow through pain.

“I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the code of ethics of this extraordinary institution.”

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He assured that he will continue to work with all shareholders to ensure that AfDB maintains its global reputation and that its credible institutional and governance systems are reinforced.

The finance expert added that he would continue to work collectively with other stakeholders to fulfil the mission of the bank’s founders to accelerate and transform Africa’s development.


#Newsworthy…

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Tension as Buhari probe office of Kyari, Osinbajo, Others


Presidency aides silent amid intrigues
A wave of apprehension is sweeping through Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as President Muhammadu Buhari begins a probe into the office of the late Chief of Staff Abba Kyari. The investigation may lead to all appointments and approvals made by Kyari without Buhari’s permission being cancelled.

This is as pundits said the volte face by the president in directing a reversal of over 100 decisions by Kyari could create more problems than it is trying to solve.

Also, a source within the Presidential Villa suggested that the power block that produced the new Chief of Staff Ibrahim Gambari might be the force fighting back.
Sleep might have already begun eluding many officials in the MDA’s on account of contracts okayed without Buhari’s approval. If this is what the president is targeting with a view to shoring up his sagging profile, analysts say trouble looms for those who cut illegal deals with the late CoS.

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Though no reason was given for the president’s action, reports suggested no less than 150 memos that didn’t have his authorisation may have been uncovered.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina declined to confirm or refute the report. “I’ve seen your text. I’ve seen your text,” he simply said and ended the call. Also, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu did not reply to a text message seeking a confirmation on the development.

Sources told NobleReporters yesterday that the directive might just be a continuation of the bickering that produced a deep crack within the ranks of the president’s men last February.

The first sign that all was not okay within Buhari’s inner cabinet emerged in December 2019 when National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno wrote a memo to the president alleging interference by Abba Kyari. He accused the late Kyari of usurping presidential powers and directed service chiefs to ignore instructions by the latter.

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Monguno’s account of a connection between Kyari’s alleged ‘meddlesomeness’ and an acute spectre of insecurity that had gripped the country was contained in a series of confidential circulars he addressed to top administration officials on national security.

The NSA also accused the chief of staff of sidestepping the president’s directive, to impose his own decision for implementation; a claim some analysts said was all but a direct accusation of treason against Kyari.

The revelations, first published by an online portal, appeared to undercut an integral aspect of the president’s response to critics: that there is unity among security chiefs towards the common interest of defeating terrorists and armed bandits, rather than an admission of clumsiness or crack in his team.

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In media interviews after the memo leaked, Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai said insecurity was being confronted across board in the Buhari administration. But Monguno’s memo showed he and other service chiefs had been taking controversial orders from Kyari, despite warnings from the NSA that such a practice was not only unconventional but also in violation of the constitution.

The first signs of war between the NSA and the CoS, two of Buhari’s most powerful aides, was the open letter which revealed both men locked in a bitter confrontation amid raging insecurity.

Perhaps the most potent of allegations raised against the chief of staff by the NSA at the time was that he had been flagrantly discarding decisions already taken by the president and imposing his own recommendation(s).Observers saw this as a jarring allegation bordering on treasonable felony.

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Since Buhari settled down in office in 2015, Kyari’s role as the chief of staff made him, perhaps, the most-courted associate of the president, arguably more than the president’s wife and other family members.

The chief of staff’s influence exposed him to some of the worst scandals of the administration. Shortly after telecoms giant, MTN, was slammed with a record fine in 2015, Kyari was the one who allegedly played the middleman in negotiating the fines, a role that threw up allegations of fraud when the scandal broke.

An MTN official who allegedly played a key role in the negotiation was said to have lost her job amid the controversy. But Kyari held on to his position, going forward to take part in bigger deals on government’s behalf. Kyari’s influence was also a matter of serious concern for Aisha Buhari, the president’s wife, who had repeatedly lashed out at the chief of staff for allegedly ‘caging’ her husband and making her redundant in the government.

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Last November, another online newspaper reportedly obtained documents showing Kyari overriding Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on a crucial decision on RUGA projects, a series of economic palliatives designed to curtail the herdsmen crisis. It was unclear when President Buhari began his friendship with Kyari, but there is little question that it remained deep and robust since 2015.

When the president was re-elected in 2019, he issued a directive to all his appointees to clear files and memos through Kyari on any matter that required presidential attention. The president did not even single out his vice president as an exception to that restriction.

Monguno’s argument in his memo was that the chief of staff did not swear to a constitutional oath and should, therefore, not be seen issuing directives that carry serious implications for the nation. When it comes to national security, Kyari’s job “stops at conveying Mr. President’s written directives,” the NSA argued.

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Kyari, according to those conversant with the inner workings of Aso Villa, had his hand in every pie, because he was “leveraging his sound education, brilliant intellect and experience in bureaucracy and business.”

One of the areas, which was used to criticise Kyari’s competence, was his stint at the failed Africa International Bank (AIB), which he presided over. His political opponents tried to define the late CoS as the architect of the negative public perception of the Buhari administration. They also contended that although every government throughout history is wont to harbour a kitchen cabinet, caucus or cabal, “the remarkable distinction is whether the kitchen cabinet is public-spirited or self-centered.”


#Newsworthy…

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Labour Minister hint on Presidency interest come 2023


The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said he reserves the right to contest for Senate or presidency in 2023.

Ngige made the remark while dismissing reports that he was interested in contesting for the Anambra governorship election billed for next year.

He spoke in his hometown of Alor, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, on Sunday.

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Ngige, who was a former one term governor of the state, however, declared that he has no interest in becoming governor because he’s on a national assignment as Minister.

Ngige said: “Yes, there have been speculations that I am eyeing the governorship of Anambra State. They have written about it in a lot of media. I am a politician. They have the right to speculate on my next move. My next move is very vast.

“Elections will come in 2023, I have a right to vie for any position. I can vie for Senate.

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“I can vie for president if I so wish. Election will be coming in Anambra State, latest November 2021 to elect a successor to Obiano. I am not disqualified. I have a right to say I can run.

“I don’t have interest for now in Anambra governorship because I am on a national assignment.”


#Newsworthy…

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