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Politics / Ozekhome: Fanning The Embers Of Disunity And Subjugation Of Igbo Race by presidency: 3:57pm On Mar 06
By Femi Adesina

On February 27, 2019, lawyer and activist, Mike Ozekhome, wrote a piece under the headline, 'Buhari's skewed view of the Igbo race.'

On face value, the piece seemed to advocate the cause of the Igbo race, but a dispassionate analysis shows it for what it truly is: drivel meant to incite the Igbo against the Muhammadu Buhari administration, and further inflame passions that would pedestal the ethnic nationality against the rest of the federation. Ozekhome appeared to be a friend to our brothers and sisters across the Niger, but in actual fact, he was a ravenous wolf in sheep's clothing. Shakespeare describes such as "goodly apple but rotten at the cheek."

It is always so very easy to claim that Nigeria is disunited, while at the same time be a purveyor of hatred and discord. What Ozekhome did was simply to fan the embers of hatred, bile and disunity, playing the Igbo against the rest of the country, while appearing to be their friend. Well, it is not surprising, as the Good Book tells us that even Satan has a way of appearing like an angel of light, to deceive and beguile the unwary.

The verbose and bombastic article (make it simple, is one of the principles of good communication) is filled with half truths, outright falsehood, and vitriol, all to ensure that the Igbo nation sees President Buhari as its arch enemy. It is example of an outsider weeping more than the bereaved.

Lawyer Ozekhome has a right to his political persuasion, which is also very well known. He is a friend of that rent seeking political class, which is fast becoming endangered species in Nigeria today. Under President Buhari, it is becoming crystal clear by the day that the political breed that the lawyer loves is becoming a vanishing sect. And that breed may never control the levers of power, and the purse strings of the country again. What grief for lawyers that thrive better under such circumstances!

See a portion of the acerbic piece that betrayed Ozekhome's political preference: "It was enough that President Jonathan had been sacrificed and booted out of office by APC and its international collaborators, led by the US, UK and EU. These are the same countries the very government is now tagging meddlesome interlopers in our internal affairs."

So, after all, the piece was not about love for the Igbo nation. At the substratum level is love for the free spending Goodluck Jonathan administration that frittered away the commonwealth of the country, looting everything from the Federation Account, to Excess Crude Oil Account, central bank, and the foreign reserves. Some lawyers possibly made a killing under such laissez faire atmosphere, and wished it had lasted forever. But here's the truth for Ozekhome: the Jonathan administration is gone, and gone forever. Nigerians are not likely to ever afflict themselves with such squander-mania again. Those who long for the onions, garlic and cucumber of Egypt had better accept the fact that we have left the land of servitude forever. We are now almost in Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, and there's no turning back.

Ozekhome described the February 23 presidential election as "complete murder of democracy and electoral process by the Buhari government." Really? Millions of Nigerians don't think so. Rather, the day of the election goes down in history as one in which bloody nose was given to the confederacy of wheeler dealers that wanted to seize the public treasury again, and make a mess of it. However, the people said a resounding no. It pains the lawyer and his ilk to the marrows. But not to worry, he can still make some fast bucks from the community of senior lawyers being assembled by Atiku Abubakar in a futile bid to regain a 'mandate' which never existed in the first place.

The Agenebode, Edo State born lawyer merely used the Igbo nation as a smokescreen to display his angst against the Buhari administration. Hear what he wrote about the Igbo in respect of the February 23 election: "However, notwithstanding the militarized process and disenfranchisement of many Nigerians, the Ndigbo people tenaciously stood their ground as a proud race. They clearly rejected Buhari through the ballot box." True? False. What about the Igbo that gave the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Buhari more than the required 25 % in Abia, Imo and Ebonyi states? Are they not members of the ethnic nationality again? Does Ozekhome think Atiku Abubakar, or anybody else, would ever become Nigerian president by just locking down two geo-political zones out of the six in the country? It will never happen. They are the ones that fooled the old political war horse into believing that he was already president before the first ballot was cast. Soon, they will leave the man in the lurch, and look for economic benefits somewhere else. But they should never forget that the days of free money are gone in Nigeria. Yes, you can still get quite wealthy in this country, but you must work for it. And hard, too.

Ozekhome gave himself away as a typical person that speaks from both sides of the mouth. He said President Buhari did not visit Anambra State till he found the need to go for political campaign, first in the gubernatorial election of 2017, and the recent presidential race. You never can win with some people. Head or tail, you lose. They can cavil, and live permanently at the complaint counter of life. The president visits a state, he is criticized. He doesn't visit, he is excoriated. The best thing is just to ignore the professional complainers, and do what you think is right.

Pretending to love the Igbos, while inciting them to what may tantamount to political doomsday, the lawyer said President Buhari never attended the burials of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, Chinua Achebe, and Dr Alex Ekwueme. Some people make political capital out of everything, including shedding crocodile tears at burial ceremonies, but not Muhammadu Buhari. We all know what he did when Dr Ekwueme took gravely ill, and he arranged medical evacuation by air ambulance abroad. The government also footed the medical bill. The state burial was attended by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo. So impressed was the Igbo nation that a high powered delegation came to the presidential villa to say thank you. Yet, a man from Agenebode, pretending to love the Igbo more than themselves, is playing cheap politics with burial ceremonies.

See this pettiness about the mausoleum of the great Zik, which had been abandoned before the Buhari administration completed it: "He was in Onitsha to commission his only project and 'federal presence' since 2015, the repainted grave tomb of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa) whose burial obsequies he had also shunned in 1991."

If Ozekhome had been less consumed by hatred, he would have realized the deep friendship that existed between the then Gen Buhari, and Zik's son, Bamidele. They were so close that the latter played host to Buhari many times in Onitsha.

Bile and 'bad belle' also led the lawyer to describe the magnificent mausoleum as 'repainted grave tomb.' This was a project that Power, Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Raji Fashola, personally supervised, and delivered in grand manner. But Ozekhome probably has not been to Onitsha, and does not even know the road to the city. That's why he calls it a repainted tomb. Yes, the horse of an adversary is never tall. If it stands at over six feet, the enemy says 'oh, see this dwarf horse.' Hatred blinds. Animosity addles the mind, and poisons the soul.

Sometime last year, Federal Government unveiled about 69 projects currently being executed in the South-east alone, including the Second Niger Bridge, roads, other bridges, electrification, and many others. But people like Ozekhome would not see it, as they would rather chase briefs in Ekiti State under Ayo Fayose, for which they got humongous legal fees. God dey!

In the Good Book, wise men came from the East to see the holy child, Jesus. Wise men still abound in the eastern part of Nigeria. They know what pertains to their peace, and they voted wisely on February 23. The Igbo must inevitably produce the President of Nigeria. But that eventuality will not come by listening to hate preachers like Mike Ozekhome. We have seen how hate preachers from the pulpit failed resoundingly in the presidential election. Hate preachers from the bar will also fail, and no mistake. You can only be president when you build a coalition round the country, and not by circumscribing yourself in two regions. That, at best, can only give you a clan head.

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

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Politics / PEBEC Commences 4th 60-day NAP 4.0 On Ease Of Doing Business by presidency: 10:09am On Mar 05
In line with the commitment to deliver reforms aimed at improving the enabling environment for doing business in Nigeria through systemic interventions, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has commenced the fourth 60-day National Action Plan (NAP 4.0) on Ease of Doing Business (EoDB).

The NAP 4.0, which will run from the 1st of March to the 29th of April, 2019 aims to further reduce the challenges encountered by SMEs and businesses in identified areas of focus such as starting a business, getting credit, paying taxes, enforcing contracts or trading within and across borders, amongst others, by eliminating critical bottlenecks and constraints to doing business in Nigeria.

The first, second and third National Action Plans on Ease of Doing Business, which were coordinated by Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) of the Council, have resulted in significant progress over the past 3 years. Working in collaboration with the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), the fourth National Action Plan is anticipated to strengthen these ongoing reforms, and improve the Ease of Doing Business frameworks adopted.

Some of the targets achieved in NAP 3.0 include driving registration for utilization of the National Collateral Registry to facilitate access to credit for SMEs; clearance of all pending NAFDAC registration applications to improve efficiency; and creation of a strengthened single joint cargo examination interface in all airports & seaports for import and export to reduce the time spent at the ports.

In a statement by the Honourable Minister for Industry, Trade & Investment and line minister for the intervention, Dr. Okey Enelamah, he stated: “The NAP 4.0 has been launched to deepen the reforms delivered and drive institutionalization. We have highlighted key action items in each of the focus areas to ensure the reforms delivered do not unravel, and to ensure we drive sustainability.

Also speaking on the commencement, the PEBEC Secretary and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole said: “The Council will continue to work extensively with all MDAs, the National Assembly and various arms of government on various reforms critical to an enabling business environment. For the NAP 4.0, these include targets such as enforcing compliance with SLAs across all focus areas, driving the passage of the CAM Bill 2018 for improved effectiveness of company law in Nigeria, enhancing efficiency in the small claims court, and enhancing the application and approval system for visas on arrival, to mention a few.

She further stated: “We will also engage public and private sector stakeholders, and intensify efforts to communicate the reforms to ensure the benefits are realised. We have already started a number of communication initiatives, including setting up a website for access to all information on all reforms at www.businessmadeeasy.ng

PEBEC was established in 2016 to oversee Nigeria’s business climate reform agenda, and is Chaired by His Excellency the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, with the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okey Enelamah as Vice Chair. PEBEC’s model aligns with global best practice and includes a strong performance tracking element that is measured by the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index (DBI), which is reported annually.

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Politics / VP Osinbajo Launches Door-to-door Campaign In Nyanya, Karu, Roots For Buhari by presidency: 12:14pm On Dec 05, 2018
“Because of his honesty, zero tolerance for corruption, Nigeria’s future is secured.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s honesty, integrity and performance in the past three years in office as evidenced in the ability of the administration to do more even when the country is earning less, set him apart from all other contenders for the exalted office.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, stated this today in Abuja when he commenced what seems an unusual approach to campaigns, adopting a door-to-door strategy in two Abuja suburbs of Karu and Nyanya.

The VP visited two homes: Alhaji S.K Ahmed’s family in Nyanya and the Jimiko compound in Karu.

No sooner the VP’s Coaster bus arrived in the communities than the people thronged out en-masse in both places, chanting praises of the President and singing party songs.

After meeting both families, Prof. Osinbajo addressed the mammoth crowd and spent time interacting with the excited people who thronged out in their numbers, often fascinated to see him unannounced in their neigbourhoods.

According to the Vice President “for the honest, decent and hardworking Nigerians, Mr President has devoted his life to ensuring that their lives are made better even when it is sometimes not easy to do so.

“All of us are going higher. I want you to believe that President Muhammadu Buhari is going to do even better. We have to create more jobs for all these young people. We have to give our market women credit so that they can do more business; our young people money so that they can do more business.”

Speaking on the President’s concern for the common man, Prof. Osinbajo said, “when he ask us to start the Trader Moni, he said, this is one way by which we can help people to start doing their own business.”

He said Nigeria’s future was brighter with President Buhari on the saddle, noting that no public funds would be stolen under his watch.

“So, I am here to say to you that the future of our country is great. All of you that are here, you are going to see a better Nigeria and that greater Nigeria can only come if the government is honest; If the government is not stealing our money.

“If the government is honest, it will build all the roads in Nigeria, for instance, like we are doing the Lagos-Kano rail and others, now. You can see that with little money we are doing much more because we will not agree to the stealing of our resources.

“We will go forward and we will move forward. It is a bit difficult now because we are building the foundation. When we came into office; We found no savings. Oil which was our biggest earnings, we had earned so much in four years but there was little to show for it. They didn’t build the railway, no roads. So, when we came we decided to first of all do the right thing,” he added.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
4th December, 2018

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Politics / Government Of Nigeria Circular: by presidency: 11:46am On Dec 05, 2018
Approved Revenue Performance Management Framework for Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs)

As part of measures being taken by government to enhance performance in the Public Service, Mr. President has approved a new and improved Performance Management Framework for Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs).

The objective is to raise revenue generation and the associated remittances into government treasury.

2. Due to their huge potentials, GOEs are categorized into self-funded, partially funded or fully funded, to generate significant revenues for funding the Federal Budget, as obtainable in other economies around the world. This potential has largely remained untapped, while much of the sub-optimal revenue being generated is often lost to inefficiencies and leakages. Government has noted also that most GOEs remit less operating surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) than is required by law and/or financial regulations, thereby imposing avoidable restrictions on government’s ability to implement its developmental agenda.

3. In view of the foregoing, the mandates, operations, budget processes and remittance status of GOEs, the government has considered it necessary to extend its public finance reform programmes to these entities in a strategic, formal and sustainable manner.

4. Consequently, Mr. President has approved the following reform initiatives to generate more revenue and improve the operational performance of all GEOs:

A. Performance Monitoring:

i. Corporate Governance Reforms shall further include performance contracts for Chief Executive Officer (CEOs) and other key Management Staff, which will set Financial Indicators and Targets for each GOE;

ii. The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation shall mandatorily carry out regular monitoring and ensure monthly publication of revenue and expenditure performance of all GOEs,

iii. Budget performance of GOEs shall be reviewed and published quarterly by the Budget Office of the Federation.

B. Expenditure Controls

i. Financial Circulars on limit of allowable expenses, frequency of Board meetings, overseas travels and other potentially wasteful practices shall be strictly enforced; and

ii. Annual GOE capital budgets shall be mainstreamed into the Federal Government’s Capital Budgets in order to ensure that they are subjected to the same level of scrutiny, procurement and monitoring processes.

C. Budgeting Financial Reporting Requirements

i. It shall be mandatory for all GEOs to use the Treasury Single Account (TSA) for all financial transactions;

ii. Quarterly remittance of interim operating surplus by the GOEs shall replace the annual remittance while cumulative remittances at end of the year will be reconciled to amount due after audit;

iii. The accounts of all GOEs shall henceforth be audited within 4(four) months after the end of each financial year;

iv. The computation of the operating surplus shall be reviewed to allow the deduction from the agency’s revenues of only operational expenses, wholly, reasonably and necessarily incurred in its operations;

v. Henceforth, annual budgets of GOEs shall be presented to the Budget Office of the Federation for review, further to which they will be submitted to the National Assembly by Mr. President along with the national budget. GOEs shall no longer send their budgets directly to the National Assembly;

vi. Consideration and passage of budgets of GOEs shall going forward, be scheduled alongside the main budget of the Federal Government; and

vii. Agencies with capacities to be self-funding shall be categorized and removed from the National Budget.

D. Financial Oversight of GOEs

i. Institutionalized oversight mechanism through an Inter-ministerial Team, similar in operation to the Federation Accounts and Allocations Committee, will be established and appropriate sanctions for will be improved for utilization of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for unauthorized expenses and for exceeding approved limits; and

ii. Incentive mechanisms will be put in place for good governance; and

iii. Establishment of Revenue Department in GOEs to be manned by Professional Treasury Officers from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

E. Amendment of Establishment Acts of some GOEs

H In the medium-term, legislative action will be required to amend relevant sections of the acts establishing some of the GOEs to reflect current economic realities and policy thrust of government. Some establishment Acts, for instance, empower the Boards of the GOEs to serve as final approving authorities over their spending plans while some others appear to have been precluded from the requirements to remit operational surpluses.

5. Accordingly, all Honourable Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Extra Ministerial Departments, Accountant General of the Federation, Auditor-General of the Federation and Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation are enjoined to issue necessary circulars, instructions, and set up appropriate mechanisms for the implementation of these new reforms.

6. Similarly, you are to bring the contents of this Circular to the attention of your Agencies and to ensure uniform compliance.

Boss Mustapha

Secretary to the Government of the Federation

October 2018
Politics / We Need To Tackle The Problems Of The Poor For Our Economy To Grow- VP Osinbajo by presidency: 4:21pm On Nov 30, 2018
*Prof. Akinkugbe commends VP’s role in giving hope for the future

The Buhari administration’s focus on uplifting the poor in society through its Social Investment Programmes is to ensure that more Nigerians are empowered to improve their lives and also contribute more to the nation’s economy, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Speaking during the 90th birthday of Chief Olu Akinkugbe and the 5th anniversary of the Olu Akinkugbe Business Law in Africa Fellowship conference, at Lagos Business School on Thursday, Prof. Osinbajo stated that the problems of the poor in society must be addressed to help economic growth.

The Vice President also highlighted the success of the Federal Government’s social investment policies as pointers to why economic models should also focus on uplifting the poor in society.

He said, “A lot of our ideas in our social investment policies, are micro credit loans to market women and petty traders and all of that are borrowed heavily from the Indian model. A lot of the programmes that we are working on today; the Conditional Cash Transfers that we give to the poorest in society are based on many of these models. But these models are the products of a legal framework, they’re a product of a way of thinking about dissolving the problems of the poor.

“And we if we do not dissolve the problem of the poor, no matter how fancy our economic models or policies are, the vast majority of our people will be poor, consumer spending will be low, and generally speaking our economies cannot be where they ought to be, because the vast majority are so far behind.”

Speaking further at the event, the Vice President noted that the rule of law remains the most potent weapon for socio-economic revolution because the success of African economies and commerce will depend largely on the enforcement of laws and regulations. He further stated that it was time for Africa to rethink and re-engineer its jurisprudence to achieve this.

While pointing to a “threshold of the Africa century,” The Vice President described the continent as “clearly the last frontier for virgin economic opportunities, adding that, “it is also the continent whose success or failure would define human history in this century.”

He said, “Our enormous challenges ranging from how to provide opportunities for millions of young men and women, to extreme poverty, illiteracy and disease, to desertification resulting in famines and conflicts over land and water. All of these challenges clearly will define how the future of the world itself will shape up in the coming decades. Simply because Africa has the population and continues to increase in that population day by day.”

Prof. Osinbajo added that “commerce and economic development cannot thrive where the majority are desperately poor, illiterate and exposed to diseases all the time.”

“The country’s effective market, any country’s effective market, GDP, and human development indices depend on the standard of living of its people. The law and administration of justice can change the bleak narratives on poverty,” he said.

Calling on African countries to build capacity to negotiate better trade agreements as either individual countries or as an economic bloc, Prof. Osinbajo said, “We are confronted with trade agreement, proposals, the WTO rounds, the Economic Partnership Agreements between the European Union and ourselves, between the Caribbean and Pacific Group of States etc. More recently, our own Continental Free trade agreements, which our keynote speaker has already dealt with very extensively and in detail.

“In all of these engagements, African countries usually lack the capacity and skills required to do the best deals. But a bad or disadvantageous trade agreement could mean disaster for local businesses. Our economic and business research institutions can offer us crucial guidance, and perhaps easily demonstrate to us where we already share common attributes or exhibit fundamental differences, prompting closer scrutiny or encouraging brisk concurrence, as may be appropriate.

“We need the capacity to undertake complex economic studies of diverse African situations and present alternative or comparative perspectives, which could form the basis for more confident negotiations.”

Felicitating with Chief Akinkugbe on his 90th birthday, the Vice President described him as a quintessential Nigerian business icon with a legacy of ethical conduct.

Prof. Osinbajo said, “For more than four decades, going on to five, he has occupied leading positions on the business landscape in Nigeria, inspiring generations of entrepreneurs and corporate executives. And there are strong parallels to be drawn between his business investments and this Fellowship. The Olu Akinkugbe Business Law in Africa Fellowship is, itself, an investment in knowledge and scholarship, in people, and in the future of Africa. And it is an investment that I believe is certain to yield tremendous benefits.”

Also speaking at the event, Akinkugbe described the Vice President as one that gives Nigerians hope for the future of the country.

“It is often not the case that you have people with complete understanding of the problems that we face in the country. He (VP) has intervened in the different struggles in this country. May God help you to continue to give your best to Nigeria,” Akinkugbe said.

Find below the speech by the Vice President at the event.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s Speech at the 5TH Anniversary of the Olu Akinkugbe Law in Africa Fellowship Conference and 90TH Birthday of Chief Olu Akinkugbe, at Lagos Business School

Protocol:


First, let me say how very specially privileged I feel to be here to celebrate, first, the 90th Birthday of Papa, Chief Olu Akinkugbe, and also to be part of the very special celebration of the 5th anniversary of Olu Akinkugbe Business Law in Africa Fellowship Conference.

I think we must first acknowledge that Chief Akinkugbe is the quintessential Nigerian business icon. For more than four decades, going on to five, he has occupied leading positions on the business landscape in Nigeria, inspiring generations of entrepreneurs and corporate executives.

And there are strong parallels to be drawn between his business investments and this Fellowship. The Olu Akinkugbe Business Law in Africa Fellowship is, itself, an investment in knowledge and scholarship, in people, and in the future of Africa. And it is an investment that I believe is certain to yield tremendous benefits.

As a businessman, Chief Akinkugbe has always had an international outlook. He has always been on the lookout for opportunities to connect Nigeria and other countries using the tools of trade and investment.

It is, therefore, not surprising that even in his philanthropy, he is making African connections – a Fellowship in a South African University that goes to one academic from a Nigerian University and one academic from a University anywhere else on the continent. It is very much in line with his vision of using the fellowship to “enhance the ability of Africans to develop policies that will enrich the economic, social and moral progress of the African continent.” Here is citizen diplomacy at its best, an individual deploying his influence and experience to the strengthening of relations between countries.

I think that we must all commend Chief Akinkugbe, and I personally also must commend him for endowing a fellowship in law, comparative law, and not in pharmacy where he has over the years become the doyen.

It is, in my view, a mark of remarkable foresight and understanding of how things work. The phenomenon of inter-relatedness of things. And the concept of solving fundamental problems so that the problems that rest on them are more easily resolved.

From the beginnings of orderly societies, it has become obvious that law is really the most potent weapon of socio-economic change or revolution. The success of our economies and commerce depend almost entirely on laws and regulations and their enforcement.

If there is any moment in its history when Africa needs to rethink, reorder and re-engineer its jurisprudence, it is now. We stand today at the threshold of the Africa century. Africa is clearly the last frontier for virgin economic opportunities. It is also the continent whose success or failure would define human history in this century. And I do not overstate the point. Our enormous challenges ranging from how to provide opportunities for millions of young men and women, to extreme poverty, illiteracy and disease, to desertification resulting in famines and conflicts over land and water. All of these challenges clearly will define how the future of the world itself will shape up in the coming decades. Simply because Africa has the population and continues to increase in that population day by day.

Besides, today our nations must contend with a plethora of governance issues, especially the corrosive effects of systemic corruption. In there also, is our capacity to negotiate trade and other agreements crucial for our economic development; especially in the context of free trade agreement.

These challenges test our jurisprudence, our systems of administration of justice, because legal frameworks are fundamental to the solutions to these problems. I’ll just give two quick examples of how I believe The Olu Akinkugbe Business Law in Africa Fellowship can intervene in some of these issues.

The first is in the challenge of building the capacity to enable African countries better negotiate trade agreements. Whether, as individual countries or as an economic bloc, we are confronted with trade agreement, proposals, the WTO rounds, the Economic Partnership Agreements between the European Union and ourselves, between the Caribbean and Pacific Group of States etc. More recently, our own Continental Free trade agreements, which our keynote speaker has already dealt with very extensively and in detail.

In all of these engagements, African countries usually lack the capacity and skills required to do the best deals. But a bad or disadvantageous trade agreement could mean disaster for local businesses. Our economic and business research institutions can offer us crucial guidance, and perhaps easily demonstrate to us where we already share common attributes or exhibit fundamental differences, prompting closer scrutiny or encouraging brisk concurrence, as may be appropriate.

We need the capacity to undertake complex economic studies of diverse African situations and present alternative or comparative perspectives, which could form the basis for more confident negotiations.

It is my respectful view that an essential part of the fellowship’s core or, perhaps you might say, its core mandate of advancing business law in Africa, must be to seek for us some balancing of the dynamics of our relationship with international financial agencies and multilaterals such as the World Bank and IMF, by ensuring the commonalities of the African perspective can be distilled and put forward.

While it is often said that we need not reinvent the wheel, I am sure you will agree with me that we should not just adopt any model and play the guinea pig, unless a thorough study had been done of the local circumstances and peculiarities, as well as the effect such borrowed schemes, the effect that they may in on the local context. We deal practically every day, with the World Bank, with the IMF, and a lot of the multilateral financial institutions. But we’re always in some sense, at the short end, at a disadvantage position. And it’s because we have not truly worked out the true African perspectives on many of the trade agreements, the financial agreements that we entered. But I think that the fellowship offers an opportunity for us to distill some of these ideas that would help in negotiations, and help in agreements.

The second issue I’d like to put to the fellowship is the challenge of poverty. Commerce and economic development cannot thrive where the majority are desperately poor, illiterate and exposed to diseases all the time. The country’s effective market, any country’s effective market, GDP, and human development indices depend on the standard of living of its people. The law and administration of justice can change the bleak narratives on poverty. So, for example the pioneering jurisprudence of the Indian legal community on socio economic rights has deeply affected their economy and lifted millions out of poverty. Indian courts have held, for example, that inherent in the right to life is the right to healthcare, food and even education.

Thus, making free education and even a right to work in some senses, mandatory. It’s therefore not surprising that a lot of what the world knows and has learnt about fighting poverty, through micro-lending and social welfare schemes, has come from India. What’s even more remarkable is that their legal system has for decades assembled knowledge and thinking around these issues. Almost four decades ago, the Indian State of Maharashtra offered guaranteed employment to everyone seeking work and it was not necessarily the best work, but some work.

A lot of our ideas in our social investment policies, are micro credit loans to market women and petty traders and all of that are borrowed heavily from the Indian model. A lot of the programmes that we are today working on, the conditional cash transfers, that we give to the poorest in society are based on many of these models. But these models are the products of a legal framework, they’re a product of a way of thinking about dissolving the problems of the poor. And we if we do not dissolve the problem of the poor, no matter how fancy our economic models or policies are, the vast majority of our people will be poor, consumer spending will be low, and generally speaking our economies cannot be where they ought to be. Because the vast majority are so far behind.

The issue, of course, is that law and our thinking about commercial law in Africa today, we must take the wider socio -economic context into account. Our commercial jurisprudence must now provide for the vast majority who operate under the shadows in the so-called informal market.

Our distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to again use this opportunity to express very special gratitude to Chief Akinkugbe for endowing this Fellowship. Here is a legacy that will stand the test of time. It is clear that Chief Akinkugbe has put into this Fellowship the same levels of dedication that have marked his business and investment life.

But even more than this, no one can doubt that Chief Akinkugbe’s greatest contributions to Nigeria’s business landscape is a legacy of ethical conduct. Wealth that can be explained. A reputation built on over decades of hardwork and trustworthiness, building block by building block. We are all extremely proud of you.

As you may know sir, I am a man of faith, And I believe that even at 90 years old, there is still a lot to do. It was at 90 that Abraham, the father of faith, was given a fresh mandate by God (Genesis 17:1-2). When Abraham was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abraham and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” You have no excuses sir, it is time for a fresh mandate. The almighty God will make you even more fruitful in old age.

On behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria I wish you a happy birthday.

Released by:

Laolu Akande,
Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity)
Office of the Vice President
30th November, 2018

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Politics / Africa Is On The Rise, Says VP Osinbajo At African Securities Exchanges AGM by presidency: 4:12pm On Nov 27, 2018
***We are committed to an inclusive economy, conducive business environment and infrastructure

* **$500 million Innovation Fund underway

“What is required is the rigorous and unglamorous business of keeping to the vision of our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.”

The Buhari administration remains committed to a conducive and supportive environment, fiscal prudence and investing in infrastructure as fundamentals for businesses to thrive and ensuring macroeconomic stability, according to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN

Prof. Osinbajo, who stated this today at the 22nd African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) Annual General Meeting and Conference in Lagos, he noted: “what is required is the rigorous and unglamorous business of keeping to the vision of our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.”

“We also realize, of course, that a conducive and supportive environment is essential for businesses to thrive and have accordingly, invested heavily in infrastructure while working strenuously to make it easier to do business,” the VP stated.

According to him, for economic stability to be achieved, it requires using resources more efficiently and effectively, as well as, tackling inequality of opportunity and outcomes.

He said, “our social investment programmes in school feeding, job creation and economic empowerment through interest-free micro-loans, will certainly promote social inclusion and help ensure the peace and security so vital for long-term investment and economic sustainability.”

While commending the theme of the conference, “Champions on the Rise: Africa’s Ascension to a More Sustainable Future,” Prof. Osinbajo said it is inspirational because it recognizes that Africa through its talents, businesses and commerce, is on the rise.”

For Africa to rise, he cautioned that “all of us in African governments, private firms, market institutions must be the champions on the rise and we have a duty and responsibility to assure a sustainable future for this beautiful continent.

“Africa, as we all know, is the last frontier for virgin economic opportunities and, given recent positive developments in the continent, it is only a question of time before the abundant opportunities in the continent bring about major socio-economic changes.

“It is evident that the African Securities Exchanges Association has a key role in our continental quest for economic growth and development. This is not only because of the vital role that capital markets play in our domestic economies but because the Association reflects the right spirit of collaboration and partnership required of African countries and their economic institutions, to bring about a more vibrant, dynamic continental economy.”

Continuing, the Vice President noted, “another key role that capital markets must play in this era is to assist technology start-ups to find the resources they need to promote and grow their businesses. We have an Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity here in Nigeria and one of the dominant themes in our discussions with the young entrepreneurs in these sectors is the lack of affordable and patient capital.

“We are accordingly working with the African Development Bank to establish a $500million Innovation Fund that will support activities in this sector. Given the size of our economy and the potential of the technology and creative sectors, I am hopeful that capital market operators will work towards innovative financing solutions to lend further support to these two sectors.”

Noting that African companies that invest in the continent are expanding quite rapidly and the amount of intra-Africa foreign direct investment almost tripled in the decade till 2016, Prof. Osinbajo advised that these must also be innovative.

“They must innovate in response to new ideas and take advantage of unique features of the African economy. We must build on the great advances in FinTech like M-PESA, Paystack, Flutterwave and Eyo Owo, in Nigeria. Worthy of mention also are the insightful mini-packets for drinks, soap, milk, medicines, sugar and such likes that we find in the retail sector in many African countries,” he added.

He congratulated the host of the AGM, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema and his team, on the completion of a productive tenure as President of ASEA, as well as the incoming President, Mr. Karim Hajji, CEO, Casablanca Stock Exchange, wishing him an outstanding successful tenure.

In his remarks, the outgoing President of ASEA, Onyema, highlighted the achievements of ASEA under his tenure and said the theme of this year’s conference underpins the need for operators of African capital markets to fully embrace sustainable business practices, as well as the opportunities and risks presented by the fourth industrial revolution.

Other speakers at the conference were the Vice President and Treasurer, World Bank, Mrs Aruma Oteh, President of Council, The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the representative of the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, and representative of Minister of Finance, Mrs. Aisha Ahmed.

Others were CEO, World Federation of Exchanges, Ms. Nandini Sukumar and the incoming ASEA, President Mr. Karim Hajji.

Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President On Media & Publicity

Office of the Vice President

November 26, 2018

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Politics / Nowhere In House Report Was Corruption Allegation Levelled Against VP Osinbajo by presidency: 2:50pm On Nov 23, 2018
*Recent attacks on VP contrived, Says Political Adviser

Nowhere in the House of Representative Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness report was there an allegation of corruption against the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and this is why claims against him from some quarters regarding the report are mere political contrivances intended to distract him.

This view was expressed by Senator Babafemi Ojudu, the Presidential Political Adviser, while responding to press inquiries about information circulating in the social media on plots to target the Vice President hatched at the meeting of a major political party abroad, regarding 2019 election.

“It is evident that the opposition are in search of company for their acts of grand corruption which brought Nigeria to its knees as of May 2015. They cannot find that company in the Vice President,” the adviser noted.

He continued: “first, there is nowhere in the politicized House of Reps report where the VP was accused of corruption or embezzlement of funds. I challenge them to quote any word or sentence that makes such an accusation.

“Even the House Committee Chairman has said there was no allegation of corruption against him. The only allegation is that he approved funds for the emergency operations in the North East from the consolidated Revenue Fund not budgeted funds. This conclusion we have proved to be false. The funds approved were from budgeted funds, specifically the Rice Levy,”

Sen. Ojudu said the recent NEMA probe report which social media account disclosed may have been authored at that meeting in a foreign country, was one of such efforts plotted to attack the Buhari administration by tarnishing the image of the Vice President.

“We have read reports in the media that the meeting in a foreign country of the major opposition party was centered on trying to attack the Buhari administration by targeting the Vice President using different tactics.

“It is now evident through the NEMA report, that the opposition is indeed making frantic efforts to tarnish the image of the Vice President,” he said.

He explained that even after Hon. Ali Isa, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness had publicly admitted that the Vice President was not mentioned in the report, the opposition still found it expedient to continue, baselessly, to attack the reputation of Prof. Osinbajo by claiming without proof or any shard of evidence that fraud was committed in the N5.8b Emergency Food Intervention Fund for North-East.

He asserted that the presidential approvals were well within lawful authority of the then Acting President.

“Let us remember that the approval granted by Prof. Osinbajo was in response to the threat of hunger and starvation based on information received from the United Nation World Food Programme in April, 2017. The organization had issued a warning that it would be reducing its vital support to about 1.8 million IDPs by as much as 85%, due to the corresponding reduction in funding by the donor countries. Around the same time, the United Nations Commission for Refugees in Geneva also warned of the growing risk of mass deaths from starvation among people living in the conflict areas.

“Besides, it is also important to note that the procurement process was not ignored in the release of funds, as alleged. Section 43 of the Public Procurement Act makes provision for emergency procurement, in which case the procuring entity is allowed to engage in direct contracting for goods and file a report thereafter with the Bureau of Public Procurement.

“Also, the BPP issued a ‘certificate of no objection’ to NEMA on the emergency procurement, and this addresses all issues relating to the alleged breach of due process,” Sen. Ojudu said.

The presidential adviser then added that the action of the opposition in the ensuing political drama indicates that the NEMA probe report is being politicized and is only a lame attempt at ruining the good works of the Buhari administration.

According to the Political Adviser, “the immediate past presidency have been unable to explain how in the years that Nigeria earned the highest revenue under its watch -$381B, when compared to any other administration since 1999, there is little or nothing to show for it.”

He said the Vice President will however not be distracted by the naysayers’ actions to discourage the Buhari administration from providing for the common man or to abandon the Social Investment Programme which it has budgeted half a trillion for in the past two years.

Sen. Ojudu added that the administration will continue to cater for Nigerians especially those at the bottom of the ladder, regardless of the antics of the opposition party.

“We know what is happening, but the administration will not be distracted. Our goals and objectives to put Nigeria on the solid path of greatness is now unstoppable and Prof. Osinbajo will not relent in that effort,” the presidential adviser concluded.
Politics / President Buhari Assures On Credible Elections by presidency: 1:00pm On Nov 20, 2018
As the nation moves into election mode with the commencement of election campaigns next week, President Muhammadu Buhari has again, given assurances of his determination to lay a foundation for free, fair and credible elections in the country.

Responding to a speech by a delegation of Imams and senior Islamic scholars from the 36 states of the federation at the State House on Friday, President Buhari said that a number of measures put in place have seen the gradual improvement of elections, as in Edo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States from what he described as “dismal and unacceptable levels witnessed in Rivers and Kogi States.”

According to the President, “What I want to assure Nigerians is that I will continue to pressure the Police and other agencies to do their best to ensure a conducive atmosphere for free and fair elections.”

On the issue of security raised by the religious group, President Buhari said he will continue to nudge security agencies to find lasting solutions, stressing however, the need for community and religious leaders to play a part in identifying criminals in their midst.

The President thanked the Muslim religious leaders for recognizing the various achievements of the administration especially, in dealing with security, fighting corruption and progress in agriculture.

“I am not satisfied with the reporting of agriculture. Millions of our citizens have returned to the farms with many leaving white collar jobs for opportunities in agriculture,” he noted.

The leader of the delegation, Dr. Khalid Aliyu, who is the Secretary General of the Jama’atul Nasril Islam, had lavishly praised the President’s achievements in key areas of his campaign in 2015 namely, security, corruption and the economy.

According to him, “So far, so good, government has gone a long way in meeting its promises.”

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

November 16, 2018

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Politics / I Am Clear About My Objectives For Nigeria- President Buhari by presidency: 12:30pm On Nov 20, 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday, stated that his vision and objectives for Nigeria are very clear and he is on course to achieving them.

Speaking when he received members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), led by its President, Reverend (Dr,) Samson Ayokunle in State House, Abuja, President Buhari said he is doing his best to fulfil his electoral promises of securing the country, fighting corruption and resuscitating the economy.

President Buhari said that fighting corruption takes longer time especially with the need to adhere to the rule of law.

“It is on record that some cases initiated by the anti-graft bodies since 2003 are yet to be concluded. We will, however, not be discouraged. Where monies have been recovered, such monies will not find their way back to the looters as I have directed EFCC to account for every money it has recovered and put them in a dedicated account,” President Buhari said.

Responding to the request of CAN for an overhaul of the intelligence gathering system , President Buhari said the burden of intelligence gathering involves everyone especially district heads , traditional rulers, opinion leaders and especially religious leaders that are very close to the grassroots. He added that bandits who are operating in various communities live among the people and enjoined leaders of thought in various communities to avail security agencies of information about the criminals.

President Buhari also told the visitors that he had assurances from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that the 2019 elections will be free and fair as he has been victim of fraudulent elections and beneficiary of free and fair election in the past.

“When I decided to put on this Agbada to see what the people are seeing in it, I tried three times, 2003, 2007 and 2011, but the fourth time, in 2015, I succeeded. We thank God and technology in the form of permanent voters card and card reader, because what they used to do was to look at constituencies, award the votes and then they will say whoever didn’t agree should go to court. When people are looking for what to eat, where do they have the money to go to court to pay the SANs?” President Buhari said.

On farmers and herders clashes, President Buhari told the visitors that government was working towards finding a lasting solution to it.

The CAN delegation had lauded the President for his efforts in fighting corruption, the initiatives to stem the tide of unemployment, the various efforts aimed at revamping the economy, the fight against Boko Haram terrorists and the implementation of the Bank Verification Number and the Treasury Single Account.

They, however, called on the President, to, ensure that the security agencies are non-partisan as we head to 2019 elections; restore peace to troubled spots in Northern parts of the country especially in the Garshish District of Plateau State, and institute a judicial panel of enquiry to look into the killings in the North Central particularly the murder of Major General Idris Alkali (rtd) and the Royal Highness of the Adara Kingdom in Kaduna, Dr Maiwada Raphael Galadima.

They also called on the President to; ensure that Nigeria does not go back into recession; urgently resolve the issue of minimum wage and to task the security agencies to ensure the release of Miss Leah Sharibu and other Chibok girls still in captivity.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

November 16, 2018

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Politics / N-power To Become Africa’s Largest Post-tertiary Job Scheme- VP Osinbajo by presidency: 4:52pm On Nov 13, 2018
Adds: 1 Million beneficiaries targeted in next phase, FG committed to creating more opportunities for Nigerians to prosper

Following the successes recorded in the N-Power programme of the Buhari administration and the growing need for government’s direct intervention in job creation, the Federal Government will expand the N-Power scheme to accommodate 1 million beneficiaries in the next phase, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

The Vice President who stated this while responding to a variety of questions from Nigerians across different professions and persuasions, at a town hall meeting in Abuja yesterday, said the programme would become the largest post-tertiary job scheme in Africa.

According to him, “the idea of N-Power is supposed to be government’s own programme of direct employment and training. At the moment, we have taken up to 500,000 and in the next phase we are looking at another 200,000 and closely followed by another 300,000.

“In all, we will be employing up to a million, and that will be the largest post-tertiary job programme in the entire Africa. The reason why we have done this is because of the employment problems that we have, we may not be able to engage everybody but at least government must give some direct provision of jobs.”

Prof. Osinbajo explained further that though government could not pay more than the N30,000 currently paid to beneficiaries and also fix all the unemployment issues, it is working on creating the enabling environment to ensure that beneficiaries as well as other unemployed Nigerians become useful to themselves.

He said: “It is infrastructure that will create the opportunities to provide more jobs, especially through manufacturing and Industry.

“So, we are doing roads and rail, providing power; that is the way we can develop industry. We are energizing our markets at the moment, putting solar power in the markets. We have designated 300 markets, we have done Ariaria in the South East, Sabon Gari in Kano, Surat in Lagos, Isikan in Ondo, Gbagi in Oyo and we are expanding so that more people can work.”

On the need to engage more women in productive activities, Prof. Osinbajo said: “one of the ways the Buhari administration is engaging more women is through our GEEP loans.”

He said: “56% of our GEEP loans go to the women. So there is a lot of preferential advantage that we give to women and this is because women are effective managers of resources; they pay back these loans when they are given.”

Speaking on the misconceptions about the borrowing arrangements of the Buhari administration, the Vice President said, the country, under President Buhari, was not in a terribly bad debt situation as insinuated in some quarters.

According to him, very frequently you find people creating fear about the issue of debt and saying that this government has borrowed more than previous governments.

“I want to give you the facts and figures on the debt issue. The dollar denominated debts of Nigeria – that is the debts of the Federal Government, the States and Local governments.

“In 2010, Nigeria’s debt was $35 billion; 2011, it was $41billion; in 2012, it was $48 billion, in 2013, it became $64 billion; 2014, it rose to $67 billion; 2015, it fell to $63 billion; 2016, $57 billion; 2017, $70 billion; 2018, it is $73 billion. So, the difference between 2015 and now is $10 billion.

“One of the things that I always want you to bear in mind is that when oil prices are at their highest, between 2010 and 2014 that was when we had the sharpest rise in debts.”

Continuing on the debt issue, Prof. Osinbajo said “the other thing that I want us to bear in mind is what is called debt to GDP. Our debt to GDP is one of the lowest among the countries that are frequently compared to us. Our debt to GDP is 20%. When you compare it to other countries, you will see that Ghana is about 68% whereas Ethiopia’s is 48%. In terms of the size of our economy and debt, we are doing okay”

He, however, agreed that “Nigeria may have an issue with debt to revenue”, noting that “we are not collecting enough revenue compared to what we want to spend.”

“Are we collecting enough taxes? If you look at the FIRS figures, it says 914 Nigerians pay the self-assessed tax of more than N10 million. Of the 914, 912 live in Lagos and the other 2 live in Ogun state, no other Nigerian outside of Lagos and Ogun pay the self-assessed tax of more than N10 million. So, we are simply not collecting enough revenue,” he added.

The Vice President said the Federal Government in collaboration with the States was working on harmonizing tax collections in order to address issues relating to multiple collection of taxes.

He said: “this is a problem that we are dealing with all across Nigeria. It is one of the issues we are dealing with under the ease of doing business. We are addressing the sub-national. How we can harmonize taxes. The second phase of our ease of doing business is focused on the collection of multiple taxes; there is no reason why that should continue.”

On the ASUU strike, the Vice President said that government is engaging the leadership of the union, noting that “the next meeting is on Thursday, November 15, 2018”.

He, however, explained that “we are dealing with a population of about 200 million people who depend on a budget of about N8.6 trillion and of that amount, 70% of it goes to salaries and overheads, and it goes to less than 2 million people. It is impossible to answer to all of the monetary needs of people by the size of the federal budget”.

On healthcare financing, Prof. Osinbajo said the Buhari administration has done much even as it has earned 60% less than the previous administrations.

According to him, “the first thing to bear in mind is that health care financing has suffered over the years even when we were earning the most money, we were underfunding healthcare.

“In 2015 when we came in, the healthcare budget was N22.7 billion and as of today we moved that to N86.5 billion and we are earning 60% less. Education was N23 billion in 2015, now it is N102 billion. The issue really is one of government commitment. For the first time, in the 2018 budget, we are setting aside 1% of our consolidated revenue to the health sector.”

Earlier, the Ministers of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; Industry, Trade and investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah; Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; and Agriculture, Dr. Audu Ogbe, responded separately to issues relating to their various ministries.

The town hall meeting was organized by Act Now, a non-political group that works in promoting transparency and good governance as well as youth participation in governance.

Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity

Office of the Vice President

13th November, 2018
Politics / Buhari Administration’s Prudent Mgt Of Resources Has Boosted Dev.- VP Osinbajo by presidency: 11:28am On Nov 12, 2018
*Says corruption must be tackled by all for country to make progress

*Urges religious leaders to continue to preach peace, work for the country’s unity


The prudent management of resources by the Buhari administration has helped it achieve far more in terms of infrastructure and development than previous administrations, while it has invested heavily on social protection, the largest in the country’s history, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this at a public lecture organized by the Council of Chief of Imams, Ikeja Division in Lagos on Saturday.

The Vice President also stated the determination of the administration in its fight against corruption, noting that it was a major challenge which had slowed the country’s development in the past.

He added that the Buhari administration has spent over N2.7 trillion on capital expenditure in the last three years, pointing out that it is the highest amount ever spent on capital in the history of Nigeria.

The Vice President listed some of the infrastructure projects to include, among others, the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway, the Lagos-Ibadan Dual Carriageway and the Second Niger Bridge.

According to Prof. Osinbajo, the Buhari administration has been able to achieve this through prudent management of resources, despite earning 60% revenue less than the previous administration when the price of crude oil was high.

“Despite earning 60% less revenue, we are spending more on infrastructure in this government, from roads, rails to power,” he said.

The Vice President also said that components of the administration’s Social Investment Programme have impacted the lives of millions of Nigerians.

He explained that through the N-Power Programme, 500,000 young graduates have been engaged by the Federal Government in different areas of public service.

He said similar successes have been recorded in the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme, GEEP (which includes the TraderMoni Scheme), the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, and the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, which currently feeds over nine million public primary school pupils in 26 states.

Speaking on the impact of the TraderMoni scheme – the N10,000 interest- and collateral-free loans to petty traders nationwide, the Vice President said two million petty traders nationwide will benefit from the microcredit scheme by the end of the year.

He adds, “If the N60 billion that was part of the sum looted from the nation’s treasury in the past, was given out to these traders, 6m petty traders would have been beneficiaries.”

Prof. Osinbajo said at the inception of the administration, over 23 states in Nigeria owed salaries of between three to 12 months, which necessitated the Federal Government giving the states bailout funds to pay their workers.

He said the Buhari administration was also confronted with the drop in Nigeria’s crude oil production of 2.2 million bpd, coming down to around 1 million bpd as a result of the restiveness in the Niger Delta Region.

Speaking further, the Vice President stated that the struggle in Nigeria is that between good and evil, and not between religions.

“I want to say to you that it’s a battle between good and evil. What we are fighting for in this country is a battle between good and evil, it is not a battle between religions. Corruption is our major challenge. The people that steal Nigeria’s resources are both Christians and Muslims,” he said.

During the event, a public lecture titled: “The Role of Muslim Leaders in the South West Towards achieving Peaceful and Successful 2019 Elections,” the Vice President highlighted some of the programmes and projects of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration since its inception in May 2015.

The Vice President advised the religious leaders to continue to admonish their followers to embrace peace and work for the unity of the country.

The first paper at the lecture was presented by Prof. Ishaq Lakin Akintola, the Director-General, Muslim Rights Concern, while Dr. Saheed Timehin, a senior lecturer at the Lagos State University, presented the second paper.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President
Office of the Vice President
11th November, 2018
Politics / PMB- At The Opening Ceremony Of The 2018 E-nigeria Int. Conference/exhibition by presidency: 1:31pm On Nov 07, 2018
Protocols:

I am delighted to be here at the commencement of this event – the 2018 e-Nigeria International Conference and Exhibition. The theme of this occasion – “Promoting Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies Through Effective Regulations” is apt, building on last year’s theme that centred on Fostering the Digital Economy through Local Content Development and Effective Regulation.

2. This administration’s commitment towards delivering good governance and development to our people is as strong as ever, considering the huge role ICT is playing in the successes recorded in the past three and a half years.

3. You may recall that in my address at last year’s event, I raised a number of issues relating to ICT’s role in fostering the digital economy in Nigeria, including:

a. The sector’s contribution of about 10% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). I am pleased to note that this has been taken seriously and stakeholders’ efforts resulted in ICT emerging as one of the key performers of the second quarter of 2018 by recording 11.81% growth.

b. We challenged the country’s reliance on foreign hardware resulting into the importation of about 80% of ICT hardware through local distributors of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) by MDAs and other government establishments. We stressed the need for concerted efforts aimed at reversing the trend.

c. It is pleasing to note the efforts by all relevant stakeholders in forging strategic partnerships towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes an export hub for ICT hardware in Sub-Saharan Africa.

d. The efforts of NITDA aimed at reorganising the registration and certification process for OEMs to ensure adherence to world class standards as well as guarantee quality and durable devices are highly commendable.

e. The Agency is encouraged to work with relevant regulatory agencies to ensure strict compliance with these new regulatory instruments.

f. Furthermore, the Agency’s work on the Nigerian ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision that focuses on the development of Digital Infrastructure, Education Reform, Skills Development and Research and Development as well as supporting the ecosystem is highly commendable.

g. I understand that the Agency worked with relevant stakeholders in developing the document. I continue to encourage the Agency to use its regulatory instruments in ensuring full socialisation and implementation of this document.

h. We emphasised the need for the public service to be highly competitive, innovative and digitally-enabled to deliver public services and effectively drive government programs and policies. I note that NITDA and other relevant government agencies have taken this up by creating the enabling environment through the development of policies, frameworks, standards and guidelines.

i. I am aware that some of these regulatory instruments have been subjected to critical scrutiny and revision through a series of stakeholder engagements. Efforts should be intensified at making them public as well as sensitising public servants and the general public about the value of these regulatory instruments.

j. The enforcement of the use of the policy on Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the impact they have made on the administration’s public financial management reforms.

k. In addition to the consolidation of accounts and elimination of ghost workers that resulted in a combined monthly savings of about N24.7 billion, the TSA facilitated the recovery of huge sums of money including the recent N1.6 billion from a single account. These policy initiatives reinforce this administration’s fight against corruption by ensuring transparency and accountability in government business transactions.

4. You may recall the issuance of Presidential Executive Order 003 mandating all ministries, departments and agencies to give preference to locally manufactured goods and services in their procurement of information technology services, in order to strengthen its implementation as well as provide clear policy directions.

5. Presidential Executive Order 005 was also issued in February this year. This is part of the administration’s deliberate efforts and strong commitment at strengthening the role of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country’s socio-economic development.

6. Of particular note is NITDA’s initiative focused on the Registration of IT Contractors and Service Providers in collaboration with other regulatory bodies with special emphasis on competencies. This will ensure the delivery of quality IT projects, as well as facilitate the development of indigenous IT companies in line with global best practices.

7. You may also recall the remark about NITDA’s efforts at enforcing Federal Government’s directive on ensuring that all ICT projects in the country are cleared by it before implementation.

8. This will ensure that government’s ICT procurements:

a. Are transparent,

b. Aligned with government’s IT shared vision and policy,

c. Lead to cost savings through promotion of shared services,

d. avoid duplication,

e. ensure compatibility of IT systems and improve efficiency in government business,

f. enforce the patronage of indigenous companies where capacity exists; and

g. uphold the highest standards for service delivery.

9. In this administration’s efforts at ensuring full realisation of these objectives, a new Circular was issued in August this year, to reiterate this directive.

10. NITDA is expected to work with all relevant government agencies to ensure full compliance with this directive. Defaulters of IT Clearance among the public establishments are to be reported to government.

11. We are serious about fighting corruption. We must not fail in our quest to eliminate corruption in government businesses and in the wider society.

12. The success of this administration’s Social Investment Programme (SIP), tagged as the largest and most ambitious social safety net programme in our recent history, relies heavily on the application of ICT.

13. Components of programmes such as the N-Power, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) and the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) all leverage on ICT. This programme has so far benefited over 9 million Nigerians.

14. Furthermore, NITDA, in collaboration with the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), is coordinating Federal Government’s initiative of establishing eight (cool Innovation Hubs, one in each of the six Geo-Political Zones and one each in Lagos and Abuja.

15. The purpose of establishing these hubs is to facilitate digital capacity building for immediate employment, entrepreneurial skills development, job and wealth creation. All these are aimed at promoting the digital economy in an era of disruptive technology through effective regulations.

16. Finally, I enjoin the Conference to come up with innovative ideas, workable and implementable recommendations that would help and enhance government’s efforts at creating the enabling environment for the promotion of the digital economy in an era of disruptive technologies, considering our peculiarities as a country.

17. While declaring this Conference open, I thank you very much for your attention and wish you fruitful deliberations.
Politics / PMB Felicitates With Cameroon’s President Biya On Inauguration For Another Term by presidency: 1:22pm On Nov 07, 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari felicitates with President Paul Biya on his inauguration Tuesday for another term of office following his victory in the October 7, 2018 presidential election.

The Nigerian leader commends his Cameroonian counterpart for sustaining the long history of good neighbourliness with Nigeria and cooperating in the current push against Boko Haram insurgents.

As the Cameroonian leader begins a new tenure, President Buhari wishes him success and looks forward to enhanced relations between the governments and peoples of both countries.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
November 6, 2018

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Politics / FG Committed To Promoting Intra-african Trade For Development, VP Osinbajo by presidency: 11:31am On Nov 05, 2018
*Adds: Building an enabling business environment is a crucial plank of Buhari administration’s economic policy

*“Nigeria’s domestic consultative process is a model”

The Federal Government is currently pursuing a rigorous domestic and wide consultative process with all stakeholders in the public and private sector on the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo noted that this is because it recognizes the benefits of promoting intra-African trade for development, job creation, poverty reduction and modernization.

The Vice President said this yesterday during the Africa Trade Forum 2018, AfCFTA Ratification and Implementation, with the theme: “A Game Changer for African Economies,“ which held in Lagos.

Noting that the AfCFTA is probably the most significant Pan African trade agreement in this generation, the Vice President stated that Nigeria, being “possibly the largest market in Africa today, is most likely to benefit the most or lose the most from the implementation of the agreement.”

Prof. Osinbajo stated that in response to the nation-wide stakeholder engagement on 22nd October, President Muhammad Buhari, at a meeting with stakeholders, inaugurated and established the “Presidential Committee on Impact and Readiness Assessment on the African Continental Free Trade Area”.

He added that the Presidential Committee is now at work, in full steam, and a final report will be sent up to Mr. President in 10 weeks.

“I believe that most African policy-makers would accept these feedbacks from Nigeria as having wider validity, especially as having some validity with their own economy as well.

“At the inauguration of the Presidential Committee on AfCFTA last week, President Buhari emphasized, while commending the AfCFTA process, as worthy and commendable, he said that the agreements we negotiate should be properly understood by those that would implement them, and be accompanied with an implementation plan.

“As the President said, “the AfCFTA is worthy and commendable.” As a Government, we consider that structural reforms should address the legitimate concerns raised by stakeholders.

“As Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Management Team (EMT), I am pleased to read and hear that fellow African countries consider Nigeria’s domestic consultative process with Stakeholders as an applicable model. We engaged, constructively and robustly, with stakeholders, not only on the AfCFTA, but also on Trade Policy Writ Large.

“The central message was support for the AfCFTA, based on a clear definition of increasing intra-African trade. The core feedback is to prepare thoroughly and, inter alia, ensure that the preferences of the AfCFTA would neither be abused nor be enjoyed by third parties that were not part of the negotiations.”

Also speaking in Lagos on Friday at the opening of the Lagos International Trade Fair, the Vice President stated the Federal Government’s unwavering commitment to policies and reform efforts geared towards enhancing diversification and structural reform of the economy, through massive investment in infrastructure and human capital.

Prof. Osinbajo also stated that, “building an enabling business environment is a crucial plank of our economic policy. It is pivotal for the enhancement efficiency and fostering transparency.”

“These policies have successfully enhanced productivity, increased the share of manufacturing in Nigeria’s total export earnings and a drastic reduction in susceptibilities to shocks that our economy had been frequently exposed, to on account of commodity volatility which we face constantly. Our focus on infrastructure extends to both hard and soft infrastructure, particularly trade facilitation, quality infrastructure and the Ease of Doing Business Reforms,” he said

He added, “we have taken on the key infrastructure challenges that have stifled SME growth and development in the country, by seeking innovative ways to bridge the significant infrastructure gap and at the same time, creating an enabling environment in which it is easier to do business.

“Since 2016, in two budget cycles, we have spent N2.7trillion in capital and mostly on infrastructure and this is the largest capital spend in our nation’s history, despite the fact that the country has earned 60% less than in the previous last 5 years. We focused on roads, power and on a new national rail network, among others. The Lagos-Kano rail which starts from the Lagos Port, is an important infrastructure for us, because once the Lagos-Ibadan end of it is completed by the end of the year, particularly because it starts from the ports, it will greatly relieve our roads from a lot of the trucks that go from point to point, out to the West of Nigeria and to the farthest part of Nigeria.”

The Vice President noted that collaboration between the private and public sector is important for economic growth and development.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
03 November, 2018
Politics / Announcement: by presidency: 11:17am On Oct 29, 2018
The N-Power management is pleased to announce that their portal for #NPowerBuild will be opened for new applications between Nov. 5th - 16th, 2018.

Applicants can apply for any of the 7 trades listed.

For updates, check @npower_ng on Twitter, and website- http://npower.gov.ng.

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Politics / Join The Conversation With #ncdclive. by presidency: 12:02pm On Oct 24, 2018
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and Presidency Office of Digital Engagement (PODE) invite you to a #FacebookLive session with the Center's CEO Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu. The session will explore 'The NCDC Mandate'.

Watch live here: https://www.facebook.com/TheAsoVilla today at 2pm (WAT).

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Politics / President Muhammadu Buhari’s Speech At The Inauguration Of The AFCFTA Committee by presidency: 3:12pm On Oct 23, 2018
Protocols:

1. It is my pleasure to be here with you in this inauguration ceremony. Let me begin by saying that Nigeria today, is the largest economy in Africa. We are also the most populous nation blessed with vast natural resources.

2. For too long, our domestic productive capabilities were neglected in favour of imports. Nigeria was using its hard-earned oil revenues to create jobs offshore instead of developing the manufacturing potential of our very vibrant, young and dynamic population.

3. Many of our challenges today, whether relating to security, unemployment or corruption are rooted in the fact that we have not been able to domesticate the production of our most basic requirements. The recent recession, which was as a result of our over dependence on external factors, is a clear case of why Nigerians must now aspire to self-sufficiency.

4. The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) introduced by this administration focuses on the revival of key job creating and import substitution sectors such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing and services.

5. To ensure the ERGP is seamlessly implemented, we commenced a number of structural reforms through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council; the Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council; and, the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations.

6. Ladies and gentlemen, the benefits of these reforms are being felt as our economic policies are creating meaningful jobs for our young population, assuring national food security and improving the competitiveness of our economy to position export trade as an engine for economic growth.

7. However, while we must look inwards for certain solutions, we have not lost sight of regional and international trends, especially on trade where global dynamics are shifting and changing at a rapid rate.

8. This means that as we plan for the long term, we must also be flexible enough to respond to short-term shocks that could upset our economic diversification and backward integration plans.

9. It is against this background that we are gathered here today on the subject of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) which was introduced early in the year.

10. The creation of this free trade area is a worthy and commendable idea. Clearly, the population, resources, geographical spread and other theoretical trade indicators of the continent highlight the tremendous potential that exist if we can crack the various barriers that hinder intra-African trade.

11. However, although this assertion makes easy sense in theory, the reality of doing business in Africa poses its own peculiar challenges.

12. You will all recall that some months ago, the Vice President at an event reminded Nigerians that the concept of free trade implies a fundamental assumption of the level and competitive playing field that is fair.

13. For those of you who are in business, I am sure you will all agree that Africa’s trading landscape, as it stands, is multifaceted.

14. For us in Nigeria, our vision for intra-Africa trade is for the free movement of “made in Africa goods”. This means the goods and services must have significant African content in terms of raw materials and value addition to the production and service processes.

15. Therefore, the Continental Free Trade Area must be packaged and implemented to achieve this vision. This is the only way the majority of Africans will positively benefit from it.

16. A few months ago, I directed a nationwide stakeholder engagement on the AfCFTA to understand the true impact of this agreement on Nigeria and Nigerians considering the existing domestic and regional policies as it relates to trade.

17. From these consultations, the key issues raised by stakeholders were:

a. Abuse of rules of origin,

b. Smuggling arising from difficulties in border controls,

c. Un-quantified impacts of legacy preferential trade agreements;

d. Low capacity and capabilities of local business to conduct international trade,

e. Cost of finance,

f. Insufficient energy; and

g. Transport logistics infrastructure, to mention a few.

18. Our ERGP is addressing these issues. Nonetheless, we are determined to break away from the past practice of committing Nigeria to treaties without a definite implementation plan to actualize the expected benefits while mitigating the risks.

19. We cannot go back to the days of signing agreements without understanding and planning for the consequences of such actions. And our country being the worse off.

20. Your task as members of the AfCFTA Impact and Readiness Assessment Committee is to address the issues raised during the nationwide stakeholder consultations on the AfCFTA.

21. You are expected to develop short, medium and long-term measures that will address any challenges arising therefrom.

22. I look forward to receiving from you in 12 weeks, a clear roadmap for Nigeria as it relates to the AfCFTA.

23. I wish you fruitful deliberations and I am happy to inaugurate this Committee.

I thank you and may God bless our country.

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Politics / FG Will Collaborate With State Govts To Make Adequate Provisions For The People by presidency: 3:46pm On Oct 22, 2018
Says FG will find a more lasting solution to flooding across the country

Following the recent flooding of communities in some states, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN has said the Federal Government, in collaboration with state governments, will continue to find a more lasting solution to the problem across the country.

Prof. Osinbajo gave the assurance yesterday during a tour of some communities submerged by flood in Bayelsa and Rivers States.

The Vice President who was flown over the affected communities in Rivers and Bayelsa, said government will find a permanent solution.

According to him, “While the Federal Government and the State Governments work together to ensure that we dredge, clear the waterways, and we build the canals that are necessary, it is important also for us who live within the environment to ensure that we don’t block the drainages, estuaries and we don’t block the waterways so that there will be no flooding.”

Addressing the immediate situation of the victims the VP noted that, “We are committed to seeing that you are appropriately and well cared for in whatever way that is possible.

“So many have lost farmlands and means of livelihood, so we have to assist in providing some means of resettlement, and that is one of the pledges that we are going to make today, that we will support the state government, and we will support all of you in the resettlement effort, because that is also more important. You are staying here but it is more important that you are resettled properly.”

Continuing, Prof Osinbajo said, “It is not a favour that we take care of the people, it is the duty of every government to take care of the people. That’s why am here with the Minister of Environment and the Director General of NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) to take a look, by ourselves, to see and to experience firsthand what is going on here so that we can understand the type of response and the quality of response that is required.”

While commending the State governments and the relevant agencies for the prompt action and efforts at rehabilitating the people in the IDP camps across the states, Prof. Osinbajo assured that the Buhari administration as a caring government will provide support in whatever way so as to give succour to the people in the camps.

He said, “What we are trying to do is to support as much as possible, with NEMA. As you have heard, NEMA is already here on ground and they are working very hard with the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, to ensure that we are able to give both succour and comfort as possible. And that will involve provision of food, tents, mosquito nets.”

The Vice President who said he was in the states on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, noted that the most important aspect of the management was how to resettle the people after the water recedes, adding that adequate plans must be put in place to assist the victims.

At the IDP camp at St John Catholic Church, Igbogene, Prof. Osinbajo thanked the Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Ogbelema, who is the Vicar General of the Diocese, for the church’s efforts in assisting the flood victims. The Vice President added, “This is a wonderful thing you have done, I think that you have shown what it is that we as Christian leaders must do, which is to take care of those who need care.”

Prof. Osinbajo commended the people for their strong spirit and steadfastness, noting that despite their predicament and suffering due to the flood, they are not broken and have not given up on government.

Earlier, the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, thanked the Vice President for finding time despite his very tight schedule to visit Bayelsa and see the condition of the IDPs and the level of devastation.

Aside from Igbogene and other communities in Bayelsa State, the Vice President visited IDPs in Mbiama and Akinima camps, all in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The Vice President added, “We will be talking to the state government to see how we can effectively work with the state government to resettle all of you back in your homes and also plan for the future, because we think that this cycle of flooding must not be allowed to continue.”

Accompanying the Vice President were Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, and his deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah; the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril; Senator Magnus Abe of Rivers State; former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva; Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, and other government officials.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
20th October, 2018
Politics / President Buhari Condemns Communal Violence In Kaduna State by presidency: 3:31pm On Oct 22, 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the latest communal violence in Kasuwan Magani in Kaduna State which claimed 55 lives.

Reacting to the violent clashes, President Buhari said the frequent resort to bloodshed by Nigerians over misunderstandings that can be resolved peacefully, is worrisome.

According to the President, “No culture and religion support the disregard for the sanctity of life,” adding that “peaceful coexistence is necessary for the progress of any society and its wellbeing.”

He noted that without communal harmony, the environment for the conduct of “our everyday businesses would be impossible to achieve.”

President Buhari explained that “violence cannot be an alternative to peace. On the contrary, reliance on violence leads to ultimate self-destruction. Violence is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Embracing peace is a necessity.”

In commending the Kaduna State government for its rapid response to the crisis, the President appealed to community leaders to engage in regular dialogue to nip imminent crises in the bud, while admonishing the people to develop the spirit of tolerance and patience at all times.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 20, 2018
Politics / Executive Order No. 008 Of 2018 by presidency: 2:52pm On Oct 22, 2018
On the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme (“VOARS”)

Whereas the Constitution imposes a duty on every citizen to declare his/her income and assets fully and honestly to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay taxes promptly;

Whereas every taxable person is under obligation to voluntarily declare his/her income and assets from all sources including outside Nigeria, file annual tax returns and pay the tax due to the tax authority;

Aware that it is desirable to inculcate in all Nigerian citizens the ethics of responsibility to the nation, accountability, and honesty;

Aware that there are significant offshore assets of Nigeria origin that have not been declared to the relevant authorities, and that are also not tax compliant;

Aware that the Government(s) owe citizens the duty of ensuring security, welfare and development; and

Consequent upon the determination to provide an opportunity for taxpayers who are in default under all relevant Statutes to voluntarily declare their offshore assets and income and pay taxes due on them and in return obtain some benefits.

Now Therefore, Pursuant to the Authority Vested in me by the Constitution as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I Hereby Order as Follows:

1. The Office of Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice shall set up a Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme in Switzerland (hereinafter referred to as “the Scheme”) for all categories of taxpayers who have defaulted in declaration of their offshore assets, payment of taxes due and collectible subject to the fulfillment of the terms and conditions as may be stipulated in this Order and other subsequent complementary regulations.

2. The Scheme shall provide a twelve (12) month period commencing from ……………day of……………… 2018 for taxpayers who are in default to declare their offshore assets and income from sources outside Nigeria relating to the preceding thirty (30) years of assessment.

3. The Scheme shall encourage and provide an opportunity for eligible taxpayers to:

a. regularize their offshore assets held anywhere in the world;
voluntarily elect to regularize their tax status for all the relevant years by paying to FGN a one-time levy of 35% of their offshore assets in lieu of all outstanding taxes, penalties and interest;

b. voluntarily elect to access the facility in Switzerland by paying the 2% facility access fees and submitting to compliance procedures required by Swiss authorities in order to obtain an Eligibility certificate to declare offshore assets through the Scheme;

c. establishes a Swiss nexus for their offshore assets held anywhere else in the world or its management in Switzerland or through its financial system and institutions in order to use the Scheme;

d. avoid and stop tax evasion; and

e. ensure full tax compliance on their residual offshore assets after accessing the Scheme by paying taxes to FGN on income earned thereon.

Eligibility to Participate

4. The Scheme is open to and targeted to all persons, entities and their intermediaries who are holding offshore assets and are in default of their tax liabilities in any way whatsoever, including those who:

a. are not already under investigation by law enforcement agencies in Nigeria or any other country and have not been charged with any crimes including theft of public funds or obtaining offshore assets through corrupt practices;

b. own offshore assets but are yet to declare them with the relevant authorities; such offshore assets by definition include:
liquid assets (bank balances), stocks and bonds held in portfolios, insurance policies, shares in listed or unlisted offshore companies, property assets and all manners of assets held directly or indirectly through corporate entities, trust structures and non-Nigerian resident companies and intermediaries;

c. earn income on offshore assets but are yet to declare such income to relevant tax authorities;

d. are registered taxpayers who have additional disclosures to make or need to amend prior disclosures; and/or are registered but have not been filing returns;

e. have not been fully declaring their taxable income and offshore assets;

f. have been underpaying or under remitting;

g. are under a process of tax audit or investigation with the relevant Tax Authority and/or engaged in a tax dispute with the relevant Tax Authority but are prepared to settle the tax dispute out of court;

h. have applied for and received FGN Special Clearance to access the Scheme; and

i. have been determined to be innocent after investigations or legal proceedings.

Requirements for Valid Declaration

5. In order for an offshore assets disclosure pursuant to the Scheme to be valid, the following requirements must be met:

a. the disclosure by the taxpayer should be made voluntarily;

b. the disclosure must be full, honest, complete and verifiable in all material respects;

c. the disclosure must be made through the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Facility in Switzerland (VOARFS), the qualified intermediary of FGN rendering sovereign advisory services for this purpose;

d. the disclosure must be made in accordance with compliance procedures required by Swiss authorities through the processes established by the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Facility in Switzerland (VOARFS) or in any other form or manner as may be prescribed by Regulations governing the Scheme; and

e. consent that a one-time levy of 35% of offshore assets will be paid to FGN in the manner prescribed by regulations governing the Scheme; and

f. consent that the assessments of future taxes payable will be carried out by the relevant Tax Authority on income earned on residual offshore assets.

Reliefs/Benefits

6. Any taxpayer who truthfully and voluntarily declares his/her offshore assets and income, complies with the regulations and guidelines governing the Scheme, pays to FGN a one-time levy of 35% on the total offshore assets and consents to tax compliance on the residual offshore assets shall obtain the following benefits:

a. permanent waiver of criminal prosecution for tax offences and offences related to the offshore assets, penalties and interests concerning such declared offshore assets;

b. immunity from tax audit of the declared and regularized offshore assets;

c. waiver of interest and penalties on the declared and regularized offshore assets;

d. receive from FGN an Offshore Assets Regularization Compliance Certificate on the declared and regularized offshore assets; and

e. be free to use or invest their duly regularized residual offshore assets in any manner in Nigeria or overseas, and be subject only to annual tax to FGN on the income earned on such residual offshore assets, provided however that the above mentioned reliefs are obtained only if the remission or waiver granted under the Regulations governing the Scheme shall not prejudicially affect or invalidate any court order or judgment already obtained in respect of any default in payment of tax for which interest and/or penalty have already accrued.

7. The benefits referred to in paragraph six (6) above are granted to any taxpayer in full compliance with the following conditions:

a. the taxpayer accesses and provides full co-operation to the voluntary offshore assets disclosure facility in Switzerland;

b. the taxpayer pays the prescribed 35% levy to FGN in accordance with procedures governing the Scheme; and

c. the taxpayer consents to tax compliance on the residual offshore assets and full co-operation with relevant Tax Authority in Nigeria concerning future taxes on income earned on such residual offshore assets;

Consequences of Failure to Comply

8. Failure of any defaulting taxpayer to truthfully and promptly take advantage of this Scheme shall at the expiration of the Scheme result in the following consequences:

a. investigation, charges and enforcement procedures concerning offshore assets held anywhere in the world pursuant to information now readily available through automatic exchange of information between Nigeria and foreign countries;

b. loss of right to plea bargain;

c. liability to pay in full, the principal sum due;

d. liability to pay 100% of all interest and penalties arising therefrom;

e. liability to be prosecuted in accordance with relevant existent laws for tax offences;

f. withdrawal of any reliefs, which may have been granted to the participant;

g. liability to undergo comprehensive tax audit; and

h. any sum paid in relation to the Scheme may be counted as part payment of any further outstanding tax in respect of undisclosed information.

Confidentiality of Information

9. All information provided by the taxpayer under the Scheme shall be treated with utmost confidentiality in accordance with the provisions of the relevant laws save where it is stated otherwise.

10. Any Nigerian official or persons duly authorized to receive information under the Scheme who breaches the confidentiality of information received or exchanged under the Scheme in breach of relevant laws shall be liable to prosecution.

General

11. This Executive Order is valid only for the period in which the Scheme shall subsist, and relates to only persons who have voluntarily declared their offshore assets and income for the purpose of regularizing their offshore assets and ascertaining their outstanding tax liability.

Any rights and status properly acquired by any participating taxpayer pursuant to the Scheme shall vest to the benefit of the taxpayer to the extent provided for by law.

12. This Executive Order shall be read in conjunction with all extant Tax Laws, Regulations and Guidelines as well as those that may be issued pursuant to the Scheme.

13. This Executive Order shall take effect from the …………day of……………………….2018.

Dated: This day of 2018.
Muhammadu Buhari.

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Politics / Abia State Community Pipeline Explosion: President Buhari Expresses Regret Over by presidency: 1:13pm On Oct 22, 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari expresses regret over the unnecessary loss of lives and property as a result of the pipeline explosion in the Osisioma Ngwa community of Abia State Friday morning, and sympathises with those who lost loved ones.

Preliminary reports by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) show that the incident was not an accidental explosion, but a result of vandals who pilloried the pipelines to scoop the products.

Despite repeated warnings, these unscrupulous people have vandalised that particular pipeline 684 times in the last six months alone. Each time the pipeline is repaired, they resume their activities, even collaborating with security agents, who are reported to have set up toll gates collecting fees from the vandals. A fight broke out as a heist was going on and there was shooting, which is believed to have ignited Friday morning’s explosion, during which three security personnel also lost their lives.

President Buhari urges communities and state governments that host oil pipelines to be more vigilant and rise to combat the challenge posed by pipeline vandalism. The Enugu depot of the NNPC has been repaired and ready to function, but remains idle today because of the vandals.

The President also appeals to host communities to collaborate with the NNPC to tame oil pipeline vandalism in their areas.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 20, 2018

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Politics / Meeting Of The National Security Council Held At The State House by presidency: 12:59pm On Oct 22, 2018
1. The meeting started by discussing the general over-view of the security situation in the country as it relates to the conduct of the forthcoming 2019 general elections. It recommended deployment of security agencies to the states to enable the elections to be conducted peacefully and to further doused tension created by the outcome of the political parties’ primaries and some desperate persons to sabotage the electoral process.

2. The meeting also discussed attempt to put pressure on electoral body by some notable personalities through demonstrations which was brought under control by combine efforts of security agencies to avoid being hijacked by hoodlums or armed bandits.

3. Another area of security concern includes post-election violence, as desperate politicians may whip up ethno-religious sentiments to create security situation in the country. Also of concern is the proliferation and stockpiling of weapons by some disgruntled elements with a desire to take laws into their hands at the slightest opportunity.

4. The council called for the concerted effort of all security agencies to ensure that the 2019 elections are hitch free and the need for continuous sensitization of the public by National Orientation Agency (NOA) and regular meetings of relevant stakeholders including INEC, international/local observers and the media ahead of the elections.

5. You are please requested to disseminate this information through your medium.

Signed
Colonel Tukur Gusau
Public Relations Officer to the Hon Minister of Defence
18 October 2018
Politics / Obasanjo's Endorsement Of Atiku Will Not Distract President Buhari by presidency: 3:51pm On Oct 12, 2018
State House Press Release

Obasanjo's Endorsement Of Atiku Will Not Distract President Buhari


The Presidency has received the news of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s predictable U-turn and somersault on the endorsement of the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at a meeting Thursday, and to say that we are the least surprised by the well-rehearsed theatre.

They will lose together. Listening to the prepared statement of the former President after the meeting showed the usual ego trip and “I know it all” character of Chief Obasanjo.

In the first place, we dare to say that a pompous statement from the former President advising Nigerians on a vote against President Buhari is the best recommendation that can come at this time.

It also betrayed a lack of understanding of today’s politics which is about good governance.

The country voted for change in 2015 and a leader that ensures good governance which only President Buhari and the APC can provide.

Bent on these laudable goals, we will not allow ourselves to be distracted.

We are busy on various national issues including the restructuring and the diversification of the economy, fighting corruption, terrorism and other threats to national security; increasing the availability of electric power, improving education, health, and providing long-delayed infrastructure – roads, rail, airports and so forth.

Many governments have come and gone, but they did not care about some of these projects.

We were talking about these things for sixteen years under the PDP and nothing was done.

President Buhari is proud of his record because his achievements are verifiable, while that of the PDP is manifested by the devastating social and economic impact of large scale corruption during their governance.

The President will not relent in the war against corruption because the ordinary people are the ultimate victims if we surrender to corruption and let its perpetrators go unpunished.

Abandoning the war against corruption is not an option. President Buhari is in this battle against graft because he cannot allow a few, rapacious, and selfish class of the elite to divert the resources meant for the well-being of the ordinary people to their private pockets.

Nigerians trust President Buhari in this effort because they are convinced he is not in government for personal financial benefits, or for an ego trip. It is just eleven years ago that the former President and Vice President in their ugly fight for power accused each other of corruption. Nigerians are yet to forget all that.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 11, 2018

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Politics / Anybody That Jokes With Nigeria's Unity Has A Problem With Us - President Buhari by presidency: 8:02am On Oct 12, 2018
State House Press Release

President Buhari: Anybody That Jokes With Nigeria's Unity Has A Problem With Us


President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja declared that the Federal Government is ready to contend with anyone who is against the peace and unity of Nigeria.

''Anybody that tries to joke with the unity of this country has a problem as long as we are alive,'' President Buhari said while receiving Eze Abdulfatah Emetumah III, the Offor of Umuofor Kingdom, Oguta LGA, Imo State.

The President told members of the delegation led by the monarch, who is also the Chief Imam of Oguta that his main objective of serving as an elected public office holder is to make the country better.

''Our single objective is how to make Nigeria better and we will never get tired,'' he said.

President Buhari, who thanked the delegation for identifying with the progress made so far by this administration in moving the nation forward, assured them that their well thought out recommendations on engendering unity in the country would be considered.

In his remarks, Eze Emetumah commended the President for demonstrating his love for Nigerians and Nigeria through purposeful leadership in the last three years.

''Your Excellency, from birth you have a mission for Nigeria and you have demonstrated this in your career as a soldier, Minister, Head of State, in PTF and now President.

''You have fought for the unity of this nation and its enemies, we know very well that you won’t tolerate anything that would affect its unity and our collective existence,'' he said.

According to the royal father and cleric, it is noteworthy that under the present administration, ‘‘dissemblers like Boko Haram and other anarchists have tasted the bitter pills.''

''In agriculture, today locally produced rice has outnumbered the imported, while critical infrastructure especially Federal roads across the nation have improved and are still improving''.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 11, 2018

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Politics / "No Part Of Nigeria Will Be Ignored Under My Watch" - President Buhari by presidency: 10:56am On Oct 10, 2018
State House Press Release

No Part Of Nigeria Will Be Ignored Under My Watch, Says President Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja said no part of Nigeria will be ignored under his watch. He gave the assurance when he received a delegation of Ugep Kingdom, Cross River State, led by His Royal Highness, Obol Ofem Ubana, Obol Lopon of Ugep, a retired Army officer.

The President was responding to a request by the royal father for the Federal Government to intervene and resolve inter-ethnic conflicts, affecting several communities namely Nko, Nyima, Oyadama, Edibe, Usumtong, Adadama and Ekureku. Responding, President Buhari told the delegation: “I assure you that under my watch, no part of Nigeria will be ignored.”

“I am very pleased that you [the traditional ruler] have shared some professional background as a former military officer. My experience of being in the military afforded me the opportunity to work with all Nigerians and this is a lifetime experience.”

Earlier in his remarks, the traditional ruler thanked the President for appointing Yakuur sons into exalted positions in government, including the Chief of Naval Staff, Minister of Niger Delta and Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution.

He pledged the support of his community to PMB’s “quest to rescue Nigeria.” On restiveness in the region, the Obol Lopon said: “We are increasingly losing our youths to inter-tribal wars which if nothing is done will leave our communities without youths in the near future.” As Obolo Lopon of Ugep, I am ready to partner with relevant government agencies saddled with the responsibility and management of communal conflict resolutions.”
Politics / "Over A Million Displaced Persons Reunited With Loved Ones" - VP Osinbajo by presidency: 10:36am On Oct 09, 2018
Office Of The Vice President

Press Release

Over A Million Displaced Persons Reunited With Loved Ones, Rebuilding Of Destroyed Communities Underway - VP Osinbajo


*Restates FG’s commitment to the release of persons still in Boko Haram captivity

Aside from the ongoing military operations that have significantly degraded the Boko Haram insurgents, over a million people displaced by the insurgency have been restored as efforts to rebuild destroyed their homes and communities are underway, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo said this on Saturday, during the Passing Out Parade of the 65 Regular Course (Army) and 66 Regular Course (Navy and Air Force) held at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna State.

The Vice President added that the Buhari administration is also committed to ensuring the release of all persons including young women and men held in Boko Haram captivity.

According to him, “In the last two years, more than a million displaced persons have been reunited with their loved ones, and over 100 of our kidnapped girls from Chibok have regained their freedom after more than two years in captivity, while the plight of the Dapchi Girls was promptly dealt with. This is in addition to the thousands of other captives who have since been rescued through special military operations.

“A few days ago, Mr. President spoke personally to the anguished mother of Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi girl still in Boko Haram captivity. All over the North East, our people are being provided with a chance to begin the urgent task of rebuilding their lives and livelihoods. The Federal Government is working with States, the international community, Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations, to help achieve this.”

The Vice President, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari as the Special Guest of Honour at the event, noted that the administration has embarked on some crucial changes to modernize the country’s Armed Forces and improve its structure and operational capabilities.

According to him, “Two additional divisions have been created, as well as several new Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), to enhance the strategic, operational and tactical performance of the armed forces in the various theatres of operations.

“Also, as part of efforts to modernize our Armed Forces, this administration has intensified the training and retraining of our officers and men in addition to providing new platforms and other resources. The Nigeria Army, for instance, recently acquired Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRL) and Armoured Vehicles, to improve operational effectiveness; as well as attack helicopters for the Nigerian Army Aviation Corps.”

For the Nigeria Navy and Nigeria Air Force the Vice President said, “the Navy recently commissioned into its operations, 6 new Fast Patrol Boats: NNS NGURU, EKULU, SHIRORO, OSE, GONGOLA and CALABAR, while the Nigerian Air Force has just acquired Diamond 40 and 42 aircraft for maritime patrol and intelligence surveillance, Mi-35M attack helicopters, and Augusta 109 Power helicopters for insertion and medical evacuation.”

Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said, “A few months ago the Federal Government completed a deal with the United States Government for the purchase of Super Tucano A-29 aircraft for the Counter Insurgency Operations.

“There are also commendable efforts ongoing to produce military hardware locally, in partnership with foreign and local industries. The best-known example of this is the TSAIGUMI, the Nigerian Air Force’s first indigenous operational Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

“Earlier this year, this administration signed into law the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers and Soldiers, to ensure an improvement in the welfare of service personnel. Across the services, there have been upgrade of infrastructure – construction of new barracks across the country, renovation of existing ones, construction of medical facilities, and so on.”

The Vice President also specially commended the efforts and resilience of members of the Armed Forces for the giant strides recorded so far in the fight against insurgency.

He further said the ongoing military stabilization operations in the North East would continue until full normalcy was restored, while efforts would be sustained to ensure security in other parts of the country.

In the Niger Delta, Prof. Osinbajo said, “efforts of the military have helped reduce militancy substantially. Oil output has risen considerably with the resultant effect on the size and stability of government revenues.”

“The Federal Government's Amnesty Programme is also on course; as is the New Vision for the Niger Delta, our umbrella initiative aimed at ensuring that the people fully benefit from the wealth of their region,” he added.

Prof. Osinbajo added, “Those who take laws into their hands, who bear arms illegally, and who seek to profit from a climate of fear and insecurity will be decisively dealt with. That remains our promise to the people of Nigeria, who elected us to keep them safe and secure. The peace and stability of our dear country will continue to be of utmost importance.

“Across the North Central and North West of the country, we have made progress with regards to stemming the tide of communal violence, farmer-herdsmen clashes, cattle rustling, and kidnapping. The Special Intervention Forces deployed to the hotspots, combining ground forces with air support, have helped put the purveyors of violence on the back foot.”

Speaking further on other measures adopted by the administration to curb the menace of insurgency, Prof. Osinbajo said "security is not only about law enforcement. It is also about building the right relationships that underpin the development of secure societies."

The Vice President reiterated the Buhari administration commitment to zero tolerance for crime and criminality, while remaining fully committed to fighting grand corruption.

According to him, “In the area of corruption, the President as you know has been determined to ensure that we do not have a repeat of what has gone on in previous years and this he has taken a strong stand on grand corruption. By grand corruption I mean the looting of resources from the Nigerian treasury,” he said.

He said the achievements recorded in the economy and in the implementation of the Social Investment Programmes were possible as a result of the administration’s prudent management of resources hence achieving more with far less resources.

The Vice President then urged the graduands to take “their place in a military that is on the rise, destined and determined to take its place amongst the most powerful militaries in the world.”

Earlier in his remarks, the commandant of the Academy, Maj.-Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade, thanked the President for his support to the institution, noting that the graduating students had fulfilled all the requirements to be commissioned as officers in the armed forces.

Prof. Osinbajo was received on arrival at Kaduna International Airport by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, and the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
7th October, 2018

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Politics / President Buhari Pledges Nigeria's Support For South Sudan by presidency: 11:25am On Oct 04, 2018
State House Press Release

President Buhari Pledges Nigeria's Support For South Sudan


Nigeria is prepared to help South Sudan stabilize politically and economically, President Muhammadu Buhari assures.

Receiving Mr Ezekiel Gatkuoth, Special Envoy of the South Sudanese President at State House, Abuja, on Tuesday, President Buhari noted that the two countries have a lot in common in the area of developmental aspirations, adding: "It has not been smooth sailing for us all the way, too. But since South Sudan wants to share from our experience, we will support where we can, and pray hard for your stability."

The President advised the leaders of South Sudan to keep making sacrifices "till the environment is completely stabilized," stressing that stability should always be number one priority.

"You can't manage a country efficiently till you have first stabilized it. Then, the economy must follow. You must provide jobs for the people, particularly the youths. Also, you need to check corruption. Guide your national resources jealously. We will do our best to support," the President said.

Mr Gatkuoth, who is also his country's Petroleum Minister, said President Buhari was widely admired across the continent for his role in fighting corruption, noting that it was the reason the African Union made him a champion of the anti-corruption crusade in Africa.

He said South Sudan was putting its house in order, but needed assistance from Nigeria in the areas of security transformation, constitutional reforms, and infrastructural development.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
October 2, 2018

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Politics / President Buhari Congratulates China On 69th Anniversary by presidency: 9:16am On Oct 04, 2018
State House Press Release

President Buhari Congratulates China On 69th Anniversary


President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated His Excellency Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China, on the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

In a congratulatory letter personally signed by him, President Buhari said, “On this auspicious occasion of the 69th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, I extend to you warm greetings and felicitations on behalf of the people and Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

President Buhari also praised China for the achievements in recent years and blossoming relations with Nigeria.

‘‘I seize this opportunity to congratulate you on the laudable economic and technological achievements of your country in recent years and commend you for sharing the fruits of your success with so many countries in Africa and around the world, thereby positively transforming the lives of millions.

“The Peoples’ Republic of China is Nigeria’s valued partner in progress. We have cooperated extensively in the fields of trade, technology, security, infrastructure, and human development.

“While looking forward to an even deeper and more beneficial relationship, you have our best wishes as you celebrate your 69th anniversary,” President Buhari said.

Meanwhile, the Chinese leader had also congratulated President Buhari on the 58th Independence anniversary of Nigeria, on Monday, October 1, 2018.

Nigeria and China share the same date as their National days.

In his congratulatory letter, President Xi Jinping praised President Buhari for stabilizing the country.

“Under the leadership of your Excellency, the Nigeria people have been committed to safeguarding the nation’s stabilization, development of economy and elevation of livelihood and achieved gratifying outcomes.

‘‘I would like to extend my appreciation and attribute the success of the recent Beijing Summit of the Forum on Africa- China Cooperation to your Excellency’s participation and remarkable contribution.

‘‘I highly value the development of China-Nigeria relations and I am willing to join efforts with you to elevate the Strategic Partnership between China and Nigeria to a new level, for the well-being of our two countries and peoples.

‘‘I wish your esteemed country prosperity and fortune, and its people happiness and contentment,’ President Xi wrote in his congratulatory message.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
Media and Publicity
September 29, 2018

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Politics / "Nigeria Will Soon Be The Envy Of The World" - VP Osinbajo by presidency: 2:13pm On Oct 02, 2018
Office Of The Vice President

Press Release

Nigeria Is Going To Be The Envy Of The World Soon, Says VP Osinbajo On Independence Day


“The reason why we are so optimistic is because we know that we are the best, we know we are going to excel, it may seem like it’s taking a while, and there are many problems, but every one of the over 1,000 days that I have been Vice President for, I grow stronger in my complete confidence that we are going to be the envy of the whole world in a few short years. Well, you might say that that is optimistic, why not, I am a Nigerian” – VP Osinbajo


Remarks By His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, Vice President Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria, At The Independence Day Dinner And Gala Night Held At The State House Banquet Hall, Abuja, On Monday, October 1, 2018

Protocols

I am extremely pleased to be here to join you all at this special anniversary dinner. I also must thank you all very much for honouring our invitation to be here to celebrate our country, especially on this 58th anniversary of our Independence. I am 61 years old this year, and most of those six decades I have lived here in this country, here in Nigeria. So, I think I can say that I know Nigeria quite well.

A few years ago, a poll reported in The British Independent newspaper declared us the happiest people on earth. The same poll said that we were also amongst the most optimistic people on earth, despite everything that we’ve experienced as a nation. I agree with both assessments, in other words, that we are possibly one of the happiest in the world, but I must also add that we are by far the most humorous people on the face of the earth. Well, if you don’t agree with me, but I can tell you so many reasons why we are the most humourous.

A few months ago, an important Nigerian politician who was on his way to a trial in a court said he was abducted. And after he escaped from his abductors, he remained hiding on a tree for 11 hours. The most interesting part of that story is that many people online in particular, on the Internet, started to tell stories of different birds and how long those birds could remain perched on a tree. All these were the Nigerian contributions to that story.

Yet another very important politician insists, and still insists that the most important attribute for leadership is dancing, and boy could he dance! And for those who think that that is ridiculous at least 200,000 people voted for him in a particular election.

When I served as Adviser to the Attorney General of the Federation between 1987 and 1992, I had a driver who was always broke. But he was always so optimistic. He had 14 children, while I, his boss, had only one child at the time. And I asked him, “Why do you just keep having so many children?” Of course he had more than one wife. He said to me in Yoruba “I don’t know which of them can become President of Nigeria. So, the more I have, the better my chances.” How optimistic can you be? Only a Nigerian can be that optimistic.

Wherever we are from, from whatever part of this great country that we are from, whether we are from the North, the South-South, the South East, West, wherever, we have the same DNA. We love our country and this may not always be obvious, but you try insulting Nigeria if you are a foreigner and you will see our fierce and angry our reaction can be. A Nigerian can say the same thing, but if you’re a foreigner, don’t try it.

We love our food, we love our clothes, we love our merrymaking. We love to be successful and we love success. We are resilient, we are fair minded. Nigerians always fight for the underdog, we believe in justice and the rule of law, even though our system still can do much better. But we are by far one of the smartest and, perhaps, the most talented people on earth. And I don’t say that lightly.

In the US, Nigerians are the most educated ethnic group, not one of the most educated, but the most educated. Sixty per cent of Nigerians in the US, we are told, have college degrees. This is above the American average of 30%. And Nigerians in US are one of the highest income earners in the US, and I choose America as one example. Nigerians earn 25% more than the median US income.

The world’s fastest supercomputer was designed by a world-renowned inventor, Philip Emeagwali, a full-blown Nigerian. This means Nigeria has the patent for the world’s fastest computer. The wealthiest black African, a Nigerian. Isn’t that a good thing? We are also told that the wealthiest black woman in the world is also a Nigerian. Who knows who the next wealthiest African would be here or the next wealthiest African?

A Nigerian family, The Imafidons, who live in the UK, have been officially been declared the smartest family in the UK, a family of about six children who have excelled in their academics in incredible ways. The designer of that famous car, Chevrolet Volt, is a guy called Jelani Aliyu, he now works for the Nigerian government; super talented Nigerian from Sokoto State. And for those who think that we are only giants in technology and business, Anthony Joshua is the world’s best heavyweight boxer, for those who watch boxing.

Everybody is dancing to Nigerian music, and our traditional attires, especially our women attires and headgears have conquered Africa. Even our male attire, there’s just something about the Nigerian swag. Whether they like it or not, we Nigerians are just exceptional, we are just different. Anywhere you go, you know a Nigerian, don’t you recognize a Nigerian when you see one? You can just tell. If you see anyone reading a book on How to become self-confident, know that he is not a Nigerian, we are born self-confident.

The reason why we are so optimistic is because we know that we are the best, we know we are going to excel, it may seem like it’s taking a while, and there are many problems, but every one of the over 1,000 days that I have been Vice President for, I grow stronger in my complete confidence that we are going to be the envy of the whole world in a few short years. Well, you might say that that is optimistic, why not, I am a Nigerian.

Happy Independence Day. God bless you all.


Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
2nd October, 2018

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Politics / President Buhari's Speech On Nigeria's 58th Independence Anniversary by presidency: 11:55am On Oct 02, 2018
National Broadcast By H.E Muhammadu Buhari President Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria On The 58th Independence Anniversary, 1st October, 2018

Fellow Nigerians,

Today is a day of celebration and solemn reflection. It is the anniversary of the day Nigerians realised one of the most cherished of human desires – the desire for freedom. We, therefore, give thanks to and remember our founding fathers who laboured so hard and sacrificed so much to build and bequeath to us this wonderful nation. It is our duty to consolidate this great legacy.

2. On this first October date and on the eve of the start of the general election cycle, we should do well to reflect on what binds us together and the great strength our diversity bestows on us. Ours is an ambitious nation, and, as citizens we have every right to look forward to the future with confidence and optimism which are well founded, considering where we find ourselves today.

3. There has been a steady improvement in the security situation in the North East. We remain committed to ending the crisis and make the North East safe for all.

4. Our thoughts and prayers are always with the victims of the Boko Haram’s atrocities and their families. Beyond that, we know that the goals of the Boko Haram terrorists include capturing territories, destroying our democracy and denying our children the right to education. We will not allow them to succeed.

5. I want at this point to pay tribute to the men and women of our armed forces, the Police and other security and law enforcement agencies, who have been working under the most difficult conditions to keep the country safe. In the process, many have made the supreme sacrifice.

6. As their Commander -In- Chief, I assure these our gallant men and women that I will continue to empower them by deepening their professionalism and providing all the necessary force multipliers and enablers required for them to prevail on the field. I am looking into all reported cases of inadequacies in relation to their entitlements, their welfare and those of their families.

7. We are diversifying away from reliance on oil to increased manufacturing capacity, solid minerals development, and agriculture.

8. Efforts are on course in the Niger Delta to clean up polluted lands, restore hopes of the youths in the region and re-establish livelihoods, and strengthen their capacity to guarantee for themselves and for our country a brighter future.

9. The age-long conflict between herders and farmers that was being exploited by those seeking to plant the seeds of discord and disunity amongst our people, is being addressed decisively. We will sustain and continue to support the commendable efforts by all including civil society organisations, local and states governments and our traditional and religious leaders in finding durable solution to this problem.

10. This being a transhumance issue, we are working with countries in our region that are also facing similar difficulties to complement our common efforts. In this context I must warn that the perpetrators of murder and general mayhem in the name of defending or protecting herders or farmers will face the full wrath of the law. Meanwhile, we urge all peace loving Nigerians to reject any simplistic portrayal, at home or abroad, of this conflict as either religious or ethnic based.

11. We are one of the countries in the world most affected by environmental degradation, as a consequence of climate change. We are signatories to almost all conventions and agreements aimed at slowing down the effect of climate change and mitigating its now evident consequences.

12. The consequences on lives and livelihoods of the shrinking of the Lake Chad and the pollution caused by oil exploitation activities alone make it mandatory on us to be at the forefront of the struggle for a safer and more sustainable environment. We will continue to mobilise international support for our efforts in this regard.

13. We are making progress in the fight against corruption and recovery of stolen public funds and assets despite vicious and stiff resistance. The shameful past practice, of the brazen theft of billions of Naira is no more. Shady oil deals and public contracts that were never delivered have become things of the past.

14. Consequently, and this is very evident across the country, we have done more with less in infrastructural developments. Roads, railways, major bridges, schools, energy and power, air and sea ports, welfare of serving and retired personnel both civilian and military including payment of legacy debt such as pension arrears, have been attended to.

15. There is now an enabling environment for local and foreign investment in Nigeria. We are building a rules-based system - a level playing field that is free from fixers and intermediaries. This is the cornerstone to help genuine investors and honest consumers, and the platform that will allow for the real reforms that we intend to deliver over the coming years.

16. We are gradually strengthening the economy with a stable Naira and falling inflation rate. We are building an economy that is moving away from over reliance on oil. Consequently we have witnessed massive return to farms and seen bumper harvest, despite recurrent floods across the country.

17. These positive developments are the result of our collective pursuit of a common vision through hard work and dedication, after the missed opportunities and disappointments that followed the return to democracy in 1999.

18. At the forefront, have always been our youths. They have been at the vanguard of the struggle for independence. They fought in the war to keep the country united. And it was they who kept alive the struggle for democracy and human rights in our country at times when these were at risk, especially following the June 12th 1993 election and the historic 2015 election process.

19. Even today, our youths play a central role in Nigeria’s continuing progress and developments in all fields of our national endeavour –technology, agriculture, mining, engineering and especially the creative arts. Together we are building a more diverse, inclusive and self-reliant economy.

20. In the past three years we have introduced many policies and programmes targeted at youth development and youth empowerment. We support the ‘not too young to run’ legislation aimed at giving the youths greater say in our national politics and governance.

21. The school feeding program in primary schools is aimed at encouraging enrolment and attendance. We are building on what we have already introduced to support schools and universities to which funds have recently been released for upgrade of facilities, training programs for our entrepreneurs, and rehabilitation schemes for victims of terrorism and human trafficking.
Fellow Nigerians,

22. Now we have in our hands technology that is a powerful tool that we can and should use for knowledge and understanding. As with other countries, we must also learn how to manage those tendencies that, instead, look to abuse new technologies to provoke passions and stir tensions.

23. Never before have we faced such a challenge. We must all rise to the responsibility of shutting out those disruptive and corrosive forces that hide in today’s world of social media. We need critical minds and independent thinking, to question and question until we are satisfied we have the facts. Otherwise, all the progress we have made as a democracy since 1999 is at stake.

24. I have committed myself many times to ensure that elections are fully participatory, free and fair and that the Independent National Electoral Commission will be exactly INDEPENDENT and properly staffed and resourced. The ballot box is how we make our choice for the governments that rule in our name.

Fellow Nigerians,

25. Developing a thriving democracy is not an easy task. There can be no quick fixes or short cuts. These are the most important lessons that we have learnt in our 58 years as an independent nation.

26. At the international level, we remain a responsible and respected member of the international community, playing active positive roles within ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations as well as all other regional and international organisations and institutions of which we are members.

27. We will continue to support initiatives aimed at addressing the challenges of our times: global and regional crises and conflicts, terrorism, trans-border crime, climate change, human rights, gender equality, development, poverty and inequality within and between nations, etc. In this context, we are working hard to achieve both the AU 2063 Agenda for socio-economic transformation of our continent; and the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, which together aim at addressing these challenges

Fellow Nigerians,

28. As we celebrate the 58th Anniversary of our independence, we know we are on the right path. Although we have our differences, they count for far less than the values, virtues and common aspirations that unite us as a nation. We have so much for which we should be grateful, and in which we should rightly take pride. Our journey is not finished but we have come a long way.

29. I want to assure you that as President, I will continue to work tirelessly to promote, protect and preserve what really matters: a united, peaceful, prosperous and secure Nigeria, where all, irrespective of background, can aspire to succeed.

Thank you. I wish you a memorable independence celebration.

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Politics / PMB's Speech At The High-Level Meeting On Fight Against Tuberculosis In New York by presidency: 10:46am On Sep 27, 2018
Statement Delivered By Mr. President

At The High-Level Meeting On "United Against Tuberculosis: Global Action Against Global Threat"

26 September 2018

United Nations Headquarters, New York


Chairman,
Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Let me start by welcoming everyone to this High Level meeting, especially the adoption of the all-important Political Declaration on: "United to End Tuberculosis: An Urgent Global Response to a Global Epidemic". This is the very first global forum with dedicated focus on worldwide tuberculosis pandemic. Nigeria is delighted that this landmark event is taking place at a period when the pain of the disease, and its dire consequences on the health and socio-economic development of many developing countries is on the rise.

Madam President,

2. TB has become a global challenge that requires consistent and an all-inclusive global strategy based on research and discovery of new drugs. Such efforts must also include mobilization of funds and global partnership of relevant stakeholders working together to address the scourge.

3. The task before us therefore is to initiate a global response towards eradicating the disease globally. In developing countries, counter-measures are sometimes beyond the capacity of such nations. In addition, there is the need to develop new strategies that connect national responses with international finance and technical partnerships to stop the ravaging disease.

4. Nigeria welcomes the adoption of this Political Declaration, especially its relevant provisions which commit to provide diagnosis and treatment to 40 million people, including 3.5 million children between 2018 and 2022. The Declaration should also serve as a template for preventing TB for those most-at-risk, through rapid scale up of access to testing the infection, especially for the high- burdened countries. I am confident that other commitments made under this important document, including those on development of new vaccines, drugs and community-based health services, will further guarantee success in our collective fight against the disease.

Madam President,

5. Our national TB eradication strategy has long been structured to provide tailored quality services in terms of diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Since assuming office in May 2015, we consistently increased budget appropriation for the health sector. This is with a view to ensuring that we promote the well-being of our people through access to qualitative health care services. In this regard, we are investing in research and development in our various public and specialized institutions.

6. Our national Action Plan on TB Eradication 2015-2020 is being pursued with renewed vigour, structured on five (5) overarching priorities.
These are:
Detection of TB in adults and children,
Improving treatment in specific geographic areas that are under-performing,
Integrating TB and HIV services,
Building capacity for diagnosing and treating drug resistant TB; and
Creating strong and sustainable systems to support these achievements. Private sector engagement for TB is being vigorously pursued as a robust Public-Private Mix (PPM).

7. In this connection, our strategic plan is geared towards meeting the overall aims of providing Nigerians with universal access to high quality, patient-centered prevention, as well as diagnosis and treatment services for Tuberculosis, TB/HIV and drug-resistance TB by 2020.

8. Furthermore, we are exploring the possibility of establishing a financial institution dedicated to providing financial support for free, comprehensive and qualitative medical treatments. The aim is to mitigate financial burden on victims and to also ensure that we continue to save lives and create favourable conditions for economic and social development.

Madam President,

9. Finally, let me pledge Nigeria's continued commitment to the eradication of TB in Nigeria. We remain resolute in efforts to address institutional and societal challenges, through the enhancement of strong multi-sectoral mechanisms. Let me therefore seize this opportunity to call on the global community to demonstrate renewed commitment to today’s declaration.

I thank you.

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Politics / Pmb's Speech At The High-level Meeting On Fight Against Tuberculosis In New York by presidency: 10:38am On Sep 27, 2018
Statement Delivered By Mr. President

At The High-Level Meeting On "United Against Tuberculosis: Global Action Against Global Threat"

26 September 2018

United Nations Headquarters, New York


Chairman,
Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Let me start by welcoming everyone to this High Level meeting, especially the adoption of the all-important Political Declaration on: "United to End Tuberculosis: An Urgent Global Response to a Global Epidemic". This is the very first global forum with dedicated focus on worldwide tuberculosis pandemic. Nigeria is delighted that this landmark event is taking place at a period when the pain of the disease, and its dire consequences on the health and socio-economic development of many developing countries is on the rise.

Madam President,

2. TB has become a global challenge that requires consistent and an all-inclusive global strategy based on research and discovery of new drugs. Such efforts must also include mobilization of funds and global partnership of relevant stakeholders working together to address the scourge.

3. The task before us therefore is to initiate a global response towards eradicating the disease globally. In developing countries, counter-measures are sometimes beyond the capacity of such nations. In addition, there is the need to develop new strategies that connect national responses with international finance and technical partnerships to stop the ravaging disease.

4. Nigeria welcomes the adoption of this Political Declaration, especially its relevant provisions which commit to provide diagnosis and treatment to 40 million people, including 3.5 million children between 2018 and 2022. The Declaration should also serve as a template for preventing TB for those most-at-risk, through rapid scale up of access to testing the infection, especially for the high- burdened countries. I am confident that other commitments made under this important document, including those on development of new vaccines, drugs and community-based health services, will further guarantee success in our collective fight against the disease.

Madam President,

5. Our national TB eradication strategy has long been structured to provide tailored quality services in terms of diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Since assuming office in May 2015, we consistently increased budget appropriation for the health sector. This is with a view to ensuring that we promote the well-being of our people through access to qualitative health care services. In this regard, we are investing in research and development in our various public and specialized institutions.

6. Our national Action Plan on TB Eradication 2015-2020 is being pursued with renewed vigour, structured on five (5) overarching priorities.
These are:
Detection of TB in adults and children,
Improving treatment in specific geographic areas that are under-performing,
Integrating TB and HIV services,
Building capacity for diagnosing and treating drug resistant TB; and
Creating strong and sustainable systems to support these achievements. Private sector engagement for TB is being vigorously pursued as a robust Public-Private Mix (PPM).

7. In this connection, our strategic plan is geared towards meeting the overall aims of providing Nigerians with universal access to high quality, patient-centered prevention, as well as diagnosis and treatment services for Tuberculosis, TB/HIV and drug-resistance TB by 2020.

8. Furthermore, we are exploring the possibility of establishing a financial institution dedicated to providing financial support for free, comprehensive and qualitative medical treatments. The aim is to mitigate financial burden on victims and to also ensure that we continue to save lives and create favourable conditions for economic and social development.

Madam President,

9. Finally, let me pledge Nigeria's continued commitment to the eradication of TB in Nigeria. We remain resolute in efforts to address institutional and societal challenges, through the enhancement of strong multi-sectoral mechanisms. Let me therefore seize this opportunity to call on the global community to demonstrate renewed commitment to today’s declaration.

I thank you.

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