Buhari cancels FEC meeting, directs Osinbajo to submit SGF, NIA probe report 

By Newsdesk

President Muhammad Buhari has cancelled the first Federal Executive Council (FEC) that could apparently allow him address economic issues affecting the country after resuming to office barely two days ago.

The FEC meeting earlier scheduled for 10am on Wednesday was called off by Buhari, even as he directed the Vice President to submit his investigation committee probe report on allegations leveled against two of his suspended aide, to him.

 

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke, were the two suspended aide investigated for alleged corrupt acts.

The Investigative Committee will also present its report on the money recovered in a private building in Ikoyi, Lagos State which also involved the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke.

Explaining further on reasons Buhari cancelled the FEC meeting, special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said that the committee headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, will present their report to him at 12 noon, in his office.

It would be recalled that absence of the President had stalled submission of the report since its completion several weeks ago.

Buhari, security chiefs meet behind closed doors

By Newsdesk

Apparently worried by resurgence of Boko Haram and other crisis rocking Nigeria while on vacation in London, United Kingdom (UK), President Muhammadu Buhari has meet with members of the National Security Council behind closed doors.

The meeting which was targeted at discussing state of security in the country started at about 11:15 am on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Sources said that the meeting was attended by all service chiefs, National Security Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno and Director-General, Department of State Security, Lawal Daura.

The Service Chiefs at the meeting were chief of Defence, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; and  chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibot-Ete Ibas.

It would be recalled that Buhari had yesterday during his national broadcast charged the security agencies not to let the successes achieved in the last 18 months in the fight against insurgents “be a sign to relax”.

He stressed that terrorists and criminals must be fought and destroyed relentlessly in order to ensure that Nigerians can live in peace and safety.

His words, we need to reinforce and reinvigorate the fight not only against elements of Boko Haram, which are attempting a new series of attacks on soft targets, kidnappings, clashes between farmers and herdsmen, in addition to ethnic violence fuelled by political mischief makers. we shall tackle them all.

Lagos underscores data importance in development

By Newsdesk

The Lagos State Government has underscored importance of accurate data to achieve proper planning which is necessary to bring about inclusive development and growth in all sections and sectors.

According to the government, adequate data remains critical to bringing about efficient planning and execution of policies and programmes that would help to enhance quality of life.

Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pension, Dr. Akintola Benson, stressed importance of statistics during courtesy visit by a delegation from Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA), on Tuesday at the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

He said: “In this kind of data gathering conference, Lagos State and indeed all the States of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja will benefit tremendously. First of all, the conference will give us all the data that we need to plan. You will agree with me that without data, we cannot do anything. If we have accurate data, it will help all the 36 States and the Federal Government to plan.

“For instance, today, nobody can actually ascertain the exact population of Nigeria. Some people will say we are 180 million, some will say we are 150 million, some will say we are 250 million. The question is what is the exact figure of our population? In essence, this conference will give us insight on how to get the accurate data that will help us to plan properly.

“Though effective data tools, each of the State Government in Nigeria including the Federal Government will be able to know the methodologies, the action or the way and manner to go about their planning and from there, it will have a major positive impact on our people be it in the education sector, economy, health and so on. I believe this kind of conference will not only help the Lagos State Government, it will help other States and the entire diaspora.”

Earlier in his remarks, NSA Second Vice President, Dr Olusanya Olubusoye, who is the Chairman of the National Organising Committee for the conference, said the courtesy visit was basically to officially introduce the officials of the NSA and the members of the Organizing Committee, as well as to present the details of the conference to the State Government.

He said the meeting was also to provide the State Government with information about the Nigerian statistical community and dignitaries expected to attend the conference from within and outside the country.

Besides, Olubusoye thanked the State Government for supporting the conference, saying that in the 41 years history the association, this would be the first time a State Government would be doing such.

Buhari writes National Assembly, resumes office

By Newsdesk

Barely 48 hours after returning to Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly, notifying the lawmakers of his resumption to office.

Buhari returned to the country after spending 103 days in London, United Kingdom (UK), where he had gone for medical vacation for an ailment described by the presidency as ear disease.

The president, in his letter prepared and forwarded to National Assembly on Monday, he told both chamber that he has resumed to office with the aim to fulfilling his election promises to Nigerians.

The letter stated in part: “In compliance with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), I write to intimate that I have resumed my functions as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with effect from Monday, 21st August, 2017, after my medical follow-up in the United Kingdom.”

It would be recalled that Buhari left for London on May 7, and handed the reins of government to the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who functioned as the Acting President.

His arrival to the country 48 hours ago elicited reactions from Nigerians, some of whom thronged the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport to catch a glimpse of their president

Buhari condemns hate speech, tasks security agencies on terrorism

By Newsdesk

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned groups and individuals championing quit notice and hate speech that unity of Nigeria has been a concluded issue as it has become non negotiable.

Buhari added that Nigerians have the right to live in any parts of the country and engage in their legitimate duties without any form of molestation.

The president’s statement during his live broadcast on Monday after his return to Nigeria further indicated that the over 100 days spent in London has not affected his connection with activities in the country.

He described the hate speeches and quit notices as step too far because they questioned Nigeria’s collective existence, saying, such statements have crossed the country redlines.

According to him, Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable. We shall not allow irresponsible elements to start trouble and when things get bad they run away and saddle others with the responsibility of bringing back order, if necessary with their blood.

“Every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria without let or hindrance,” he added.

The president stressed that the national consensus was that, it is better to live together and address challenges collectively than to live apart.

He said: “This is not to deny that there are legitimate concerns. Every group has a grievance. But the beauty and attraction of a federation is that it allows different groups to air their grievances and work out a mode of co-existence.

“The National Assembly and the National Council of State are the legitimate and appropriate bodies for national discourse.”

Buhari, who recalled his encounter with late Emeka Ojukwu, in Daura, Kastsina state 14 years ago, noted that it was then they realized that Nigeria’s must remain united.

“In 2003 after I joined partisan politics, the late Emeka Ojukwu came and stayed as my guest in my hometown Daura. Over two days we discussed in great depth till late into the night and analyzed the problems of Nigeria. We both came to the conclusion that the country must remain one and united,” he said.

Worried by resurgence of Boko Haram in North east which threatens successes achieved against insurgency, Buhari stressed that terrorists and criminals would be fought and destroyed to afford Nigerians live in peace and safety.

The president said government would reinforce against kidnappings, farmers and herdsmen clashes, in addition to ethnic violence fuelled by political mischief makers, noting, we shall tackle them all.

He appealed to Nigerians to eschew petty differences and come together to face common challenges of political evolution and integration as well as economic security and lasting peace among all.

“I remain resolutely committed to ensuring that these goals are achieved and maintained,’’ the president said.

Jubilation trailing Buhari’s return show no alternative yet-NUPENG

By Newsdesk

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has said jubilation that trailed arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari was an indication that the country had no alternation to him now.

According to the Chairman, the people came out immensely to welcome him, because they believed in him to turn around the ailing economy.

Chairman, South-West Chapter of the union, Tokunbo Korodo, told newsmen in Lagos on Sunday, that Nigerians were in happy mood with arrival of their President.

“We believe in our president and I can tell you, categorically, that there is no alternative to Buhari in moving the country forward. It is with happiness that Nigerians came to welcome their president, after 104 days in United Kingdom’s hospital.

“The gesture showed by Nigerians is a sign that they believe in him and they have been praying for him to recover from the illness. They have hope in him that he is back to turn the country’s ailing economy round. Everybody is happy to receive the president back in the country.”

Korodo urged Buhari to continue with his good work he had started, noting, our president should not relent in his effort in getting rid of corrupt Nigerians and also ensure that money recovered from treasury looters is pump into the economy.

 

Presidency orders IG to begin community policing

By Newsdesk

Apparently concerned by need to improve standard of security in the country, National Economic Council (NEC), has recommended implementation of community policing in Nigeria.

NEC also directed that security operatives and intelligence community should collaboration and proffer solutions to fresh insecurity challenges especially terrorism that had started in North east.

These were some of the recommendations at Security Summit presided over by the chair of NEC and then Acting President,Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Osinbajo, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, on Sunday, at the summit stressed need for prompt action to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of terrorist acts, kidnapping and purveyors of hate speeches.

The presidential directive to the Inspector-General of Police initiating community policing is pursuant to provisions of section 215(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended and section 10(1) of the Police Act Cap. P19, LFN 2004.

Akande noted that the retreat highlighted the need for a more effective coordination between the security and intelligence agencies to build a security community that was well synergized.

He noted that meeting without the synergy, optimal performance of different security and intelligence agencies might be difficult.

“The retreat discussed concerns about the delay in the entire criminal justice system and NEC members concluded that prompt action by law enforcement agencies was imperative.

“To facilitate this, NEC advocated the designation of special courts through collaboration of judicial and executive arms of the Federal and State Governments.

“The participants agreed that FG should help States to develop a template on how such special courts would be established, and managed,” the acting president added.

NEC members recognized that the conflict between farmers and herdsmen were essentially a problem of land use, which had however taken an ethnic and religious coloration.

At the summit, it was agreed that governments needed to properly define problems and eschew the ethno-religious construction of what was otherwise an economic challenge.

Also, participants stated that it would be useful bringing different herdsmen and farmers together to discuss and work out some of the issues that concern them.

The NEC also criticized hate speech and adopted the directive by the federal government that the issue would be regarded as an act of terror and punished as such.

Akande added that NEC noted that hate speech was retrogressive and constituted a threat to national unity.

“On the funding of security agencies, NEC agreed that it was key especially with respect to the provision of equipment. It, however, noted that defense budget and funding for other security agencies of government always formed some of the biggest component of the budget and called for greater accountability of the budget.

Akande, who quoted Osinbajo, while commending the Council for their patience and commitment to the process, saying it was not surprising at all because every State Government as you know must be primarily concerned with security.

The retreat also commended the Armed Forces, Police and other uniformed forces for their extraordinary professionalism and dedication to the enforcement of law and order, despite the obvious challenges.

Aregbesola canvasses need to strengthen agriculture sector investment

By Newsdesk

The Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has stressed that it is time for Nigeria to strengthen its investment in farming to sustain itself, saying the time would come when the nation would be left with no other option than agriculture.

Aregbesola said government at all levels must do whatever it can to boost food production in the country, considering annual increase in country’s population.

The governor made the appeal on Sunday while inspecting 40 acres of farmland owned by the state in Ilesha which had been replicated in other 23 Local Government in the state.

He stressed that food and shelter were essentials for the survival of humanity, noting, no serious government will trivialise need to encourage agriculture, particularly at a time when the value of crude oil is progressively sliding into zero.

According to him, it has been brought into public knowledge that in the next 20 years, it will be practically impossible to import food, not because there won’t be money to do so, but there won’t be food to import.

“So, to prevent this unforeseen circumstantial uncertainty, then it is time to go into massive food production capable of making us self sufficient and as well encouraging surplus for export.

“Our major economic product, crude oil, will soon become unpopular as it is evident that in the next 25 years, there will no longer be a serious automobile company that will be producing petroleum powered vehicles,” he added.

Aregbesola argued that the major buyers of Nigeria’s crude oil have declared plans to do away with petroleum powered automobiles by 2030.

His words, and what this implies is that, petroleum will become an ordinary commodity, and not a money making commodity as we have it now.

The governor stated that the farmland was cultivated to make the state to be self sufficient in food production and as well make Osun the food basket of Western Nigeria.

He said the initiative was also aimed at fighting the scourge of irregular farming by encouraging modern agriculture practices through irrigation.

Aregbesola however commended volunteers of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) on their efforts in maintaining the farmland.

Kogi declares Monday public holiday to mark Buhari’s return

By Newsdesk

The Kogi state government has declared Monday as public holiday to allow residents attend a special thanksgiving aimed at marking safe return of President Muhammadu Buhari to the country from London in United Kingdom, where he had gone for medical vacation.

According to the government, decision to hold the service was in line with support people had been giving to Buhari in his efforts at correcting ills of the past administration and setting the nation on sound economic footing.

The Director -General, media and publicity to the state governor, Kingsley Fanwo, who announced the public holiday on Sunday, explained that the decision was to enable residents give thanks to God for returning Buhari in sound health and mind.

“ We urge the people to also use the occasion of the public holiday to pray for Mr. President as he resumes his responsibilities of repositioning Nigeria, “ Fanwo said.

He quoted the state governor, Yahaya Bello, as thanking the people for standing by the President while undergoing treatment in London and for trooping to Abuja to welcome the him.

Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress, (APC), Deputy National Chairman (South), Segun Oni, has described Buhari’s return as soothing balm on the tensed atmosphere in the country.

Oni, in a statement signed by his media aide, Steve Alabi, in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state, on Sunday, stressed that seeing the President in good health has helped correct erroneous impression about his health.

The APC chieftain congratulated the President for the recovery and wished him robust health as he continues to give quality leadership to the country.

Oni advised Buhari’s antagonists to desist from playing politics with every issue as they were not God.

He said: “There is a particular governor in one of the South West states, who said he would commit suicide if President Buhari returned to the country alive.

“Now that our leader is back into the country, not only alive but agile and ready to resume his Presidential seat, when are we going to read or hear the news of his suicide in the dailies or on the radio and television?,” Oni added.

Oyo bans automatic promotion in public schools

By Newsdesk

Apparently to prevent fall in standard of education in Oyo state,  the government has banned automatic promotion for pupils and students in public schools across the state.

The government lamented that automatic promotion has adversely affected standard of education not only in the state but in Nigeria.

Commissioner for education, science and technology, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela, announced the ban in an interview with newsmen in the state.

Olowofela noted that the ban was part of ongoing cleansing in the state education sector to ensure pupils and students in the state compete favourably with their peers in other states.

 

He disclosed that aside the ‘No Automatic Promotion” policy, it had started a unified examination system as well as harmonized grading for S.S 1 and 2 students in public schools, aimed at improving the state’s performances during external examinations.

The commissioner hinted that efforts of the government has started yielding results with the state clinching second spot in 2016 National Examination Council (NECO) examination.

According to him, the spot was far better than 12th position in 2015, urging that the media should be wary of the reports they publish so as not to mislead the general public on the present rating of the state in external examinations.

Olowofela stated that the recently introduced School Governing Boards (SGB) for Public secondary schools in the state is a master stroke that is changing the schools’ system.

He emphasised that the paradigm has changed and the SGBs were improving standard of education and infrastructures in the state.

The commissioner posited that SGB model would outlive the present administration as it had started yielding positive results, saying one of our SGBs spent N125 million to renovate their school. They have also started raising N1 billion to embark on other projects.

According to him, the SGB is a master stroke that will change education in the state forever. The Government has also approved and initiated the process of renovating 100 schools with about N5 billion comprising of N3 billion counterpart funding and N1.9 billion. which is a combination of. funds generated from the students’ levies and state government’s internally generated revenue.

“We want our students to take advantage of our Oyo State Model Education System Intervention (OYOMESI) to build good character and the Ajumose Legacy Note for secondary schools to download text books from the web, while the hard copies are also available in the Ministry,” the Commissioner stressed.

Olowofela said that the Education Trust Fund (ETF) inaugurated recently by the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi, would complement budgetary allocation, adding that 5 percent of Value Added tax (VAT) to State/Local Government will go to ETF as well as 1 percent from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and 1 percent paid by students of private schools will go into the pool.

The commissioner pointed out that The Technical University, Ibadan (TechU) will be self-financing, saying that the government is just midwifing the university that will develop the vocational skills of its students and promote technical education.