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Daily Archives: October 1, 2019

Independence Anniversary: Saraki congratulates Nigerians, preaches unity

 

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of the nation’s 59th Independence Anniversary and called on them to further work for the unity of the nation.

Saraki in a statement from his Media Office in Abuja noted that the country has come a long way since 1960 and that the citizenry have many reasons to celebrate while praying for more positive developments across the various sphere of life.

He added that every Nigerian should continue to pray and work for the progress and development of the country because “we are leaders in our respective rights and our collective efforts have sustained our country and will further take her to greater heights”.

The former Senate President also urged Nigerians to use the occasion of the Independence Anniversary to remember “our heroes past” and pray that the unity, progress and peace” of the country that they strived to entrench continue to be sustained and nurtured.

Soludo: A friend asked me to reject Buhari’s appointment ‘because there’s no money’

Prof Charles Soludo, former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has disclosed how one of his friends asked him to reject the appointment into the economic advisory council.

President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled an 8-man economic council on September 16.

Some economic experts had commended the president for the decision, saying it is capable of yielding fruits.

But speaking at The Platform, an annual conference organised by Covenant Christian Centre in Lagos, on Tuesday, Soludo faulted the thought pattern of some Nigerians.

“When I was named as member of the Economic Advisory Council, a friend called me, spoke in Igbo: ‘leave their job for them’, I asked why, he said ‘but there’s no money there now, just a Committee… that’s how we reason in Nigeria,” he said.

The economist said the constitution is not sustainable and cannot carry Nigeria and its citizens for long.

Soludo further likened Nigeria’s current reality to the “foundation of an old bungalow”, saying the country needs to among other things change its economic institutions.

He said: “Our constitution, together with its command and control institutions concentrated at Abuja, was designed for and around the sharing and consumption of the oil rent. It is largely obsolete for the demands of a production economy without oil rent which requires competitive and flexible rather than unitary federalism.

“As the oil rent is tapping off, its internal contradictions have burst open, requiring a lot of survival mechanisms to keep the system afloat. But for how long?

“You cannot build a 100-storey building upon a foundation of an old bungalow. The new economy we need to build is a 100-storey building and we cannot put a 100-storey building on this foundation that has been laid for a bungalow.

“A post-oil economy requires that agents maximise their fullest potentials which would require a national rather than a federal response. You can’t clap with one hand.

“What we need is a new national business model. You are designing good ideas and good plans without the underlying infrastructure to carry those ideas forward.”

Soludo added that although Nigeria’s greatest resources is its population, adequate measures have not been put in place to secure the future of the young generation.

He charged the elite to agree on a goal to give the Nigerian child “what we enjoyed.”

He said: “This children in the next 30 years will be youth, they need jobs, they need education, they need water, they need housing. Twenty years time, the oil will be history. I want to ask whether we are actually prepared enough to welcome the 400 million Nigerians in 30 years time.

“Since 1992, we have implemented all kinds of plans all designed to diversify the economy but we are still tied to the life support of the oil sector. If you want to change a persistent economic structure, you have to change the underlying economic institution.

“Our greatest resource is human beings, but we are not going to export illiterates. The easiest way to waste the future is to continue to churn out illiterates and largely unemployed persons must of whom see criminality as the only way to escape.”

Mixed reactions trail Army chief’s call for spiritual warfare against Boko Haram

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said terrorism and terrorist groups could not be eliminated alone by the military unless religious bodies and organisations in the country come to the ‘forefront of the spiritual battle.’

The army chief noted that the focus must be religious groups addressing the ideologies which fuelled the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists activities.

Buratai stated these on Monday in Abuja at a spiritual warfare seminar at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, with the theme, ‘Countering insurgency and violent extremism in Nigeria through spiritual warfare.’

The army chief, who was represented by the Chief of Administration, Maj. Gen. Sani Yusuf, urged Islamic and Christian clerics to join the fight against terrorism and reorient the people against negative ideologies.

Buratai said, “It is easier to defeat Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists than their ideology because while we degrade the terrorists and their havens, the narrative of the ideology grows the group.

“Therefore, communities, families and groups should join in the fight and narratives to reject and prevent the ideologies of the terrorists and extremist groups.

“Religious bodies and organisations in particular, which interface regularly with the grass roots, should be in the forefront of this spiritual battle and fashion out ways of stepping up their roles.

“It is a well-known fact that terrorism and terrorist groups cannot be totally eliminated by mainly military actions. This means focusing our efforts on the underlying narratives through ideologies employed by these terrorists to lure innocent citizens into their fold.

“The need to defeat the ideologies of Boko Haram and ISWAP is based on the awareness that it is the ideologies that enhance their resources and help to recruit new fighters to their fold and as such, kill their ideology and the terrorist movement withers and dies.”

But the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, flayed Buratai for “recommending a fetish approach to prosecuting a physical war.”

Adeniran said Buratai’s statement was an admission that he no longer had anything to offer and should be replaced by the President.

He said, “I think that this Buratai of a soldier does not know his onions; he had made a couple of laughable recommendations in the past and all he is doing is like groping in the dark. He doesn’t seem to know the technicalities of prosecuting such a war by the sheer ignorance he has been displaying and the trial-and-error strategy that he is adopting has led to Nigeria losing many brilliant and agile soldiers who could have otherwise been very useful in prosecuting sensible wars. But because of the carelessness of the leaders, we have lost many of them; as well as the fact that several trillions of naira has been pumped into prosecuting that war.

“I will join the school of thought that has asked the President and the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces to waste no further time in looking for a more brilliant and technically-savvy warrior that can prosecute the war that is going on in the North-East; otherwise, we will be losing our future to carelessness and that will not do Nigeria any good.”

Also, Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant (Media and Communications) to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle, urged Buhari to sack the army chief.

He said, “CAN has been consistently calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Commander-in-Chief, to overhaul the security system and replace the service chiefs.

“As far as we are concerned, the handling of the security challenges in the country has been everything, but satisfactory. We have also told the President to overhaul the National Security Council with a view to injecting new blood with a new vision and to address the lopsided appointments of the NSC.”

However, Ustaz Christian Okonkwo, the Director of Islamic Centre, Afikpo, an affiliate of the International Islamic Relief Organisation based in Saudi Arabia, said Buratai was right.

The former Director of Administration, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, said, “People get indoctrinated by the preaching and teaching of a set of religion or the other or by their attachment to their particular tribe or race. So, if we have to change the narrative, it just has to come from the same source to which these people have been indoctrinated because they have a very serious sentiment to that religion or ethnic group.”

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad lll-led Jam’atu Nasril Islam also backed the Chief of Army Staff.

The JNI’s Secretary – General, Dr. Abubakar Khalid-Aliyu, said, “My understanding is that the military chief has so many dimensions, including the military and spiritual dimensions, because they are based on religious ideology and this religious ideology has been the fuel. The terrorists need a superior religious ideology which teaches that life is sacrosanct and must be protected at all costs, and that taking a life as viewed by the Qur’an by injustice is like taking the whole human race. I think using higher ideology of Islam to compliment other aspect of it to fight the terrorists is apt.

 

Busola Dakolo: I sued Fatoyinbo because I still suffer emotional distress

Busola Dakolo, a celebrity photographer, says she sued Biodun Fatoyinbo, senior pastor at the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), for the emotional injuries she still suffers as a result of the alleged rape.

She said this in her response to Fatiyinbo’s notice of preliminary objection filed before a high court in the federal capital territory.

Dakolo had sued Fatoyinbo whom she accused him of having sexual relations with her on two occasions in 2002, when she was a teenager.

But in his preliminary objection, the pastor had asked the court to dismiss the suit on grounds that the prayers therein were could not be granted.

He had also argued that the suit was statute-barred as it was not filed within three years of the occurrence of the allegation he was accused of.

But in her response, a copy of which was obtained by TheCable, Dakolo said the case is predicated on a “continuing injury which is of a nature that is suffered from time to time continuously over a long period of time” and is therefore not statute-barred.

In the response filed on Friday, she said “the cause of action of the respondent is predicated on the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, which is different from negligent infliction of emotional distress.”

“The respondent humbly posits that the fulcrum of this suit is not rooted on the allegation of rape as this is not a criminal court but on cumulative facts which has caused the respondent continuous emotional injuries,” it read.

“In response to the argument of the applicant contained particularly at paragraph 1:25-1.41 of the written address, we humbly submit that to consider and determine whether or not a claim discloses reasonable cause of action and terminating a suit if it does not and thus depriving the respondent of access to justice must be thoroughly thought-out and not reduced to a tea party, as the applicant’s objection seems to present.

“It is a decision to be reached seriously in the light of the law and the facts as put forward in the pleadings of the respondent and thus, such a decision must never be reached lightly.”

Dakolo also dismissed Fatoyinbo’s argument that the suit is frivolous and also an abuse of court process. She said to determine if such is the case, “the processes to examine are the writ of summons as well as the statement of claim of the respondent and not the affidavit in support of the objection.”

“What the claimant has done is simple and straightforward, she has approached the court vide her originating processes to inform the court that she has suffered and continues to suffer emotional distress as a result of the actions and inaction of the applicant,” the response read.

“We therefore maintain strongly that the respondent has a reasonable cause of action and as such, this suit is not frivolous nor is it an abuse of court process.

“My Lord, we respectfully put forward a logical question and that is: what are the elements of a frivolous claim? My Lord, we humbly submit that a claim is frivolous and an abuse of court process when the same is not supported by any idea of law and when such a party has no reasonable cause of action.”

South Africa grants Air Peace rights to operate daily flights

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that the South African government had granted Air Peace’s request to commence commercial flights to Johannesburg, South Africa

Ferdinard Nwoye, spokesperson for the ministry made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the South African Government has granted request for the Nigerian Designated Airline, Air Peace to commence commercial flights to Johannesburg, South Africa.

“The confirmation was granted in the process of ascertaining the level of implementation of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and South Africa.

“At the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of the 9th Session of the Nigeria/South Africa Bi-National Commission Summit in Pretoria, South Africa on Friday, Sept. 27.

“The proprietor of Air Peace Airlines, Chief Allen Onyema has also confirmed that the airline would commence operation as soon as possible to promote air travel between Nigeria and South Africa,” Nwonye said.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the bi-national meeting focused on consolidation of the subsisting signed Agreements/MoUs between both countries

The Nigeria-South Africa Joint Commission was established in 1999 to promote relations between both countries and it was upgraded to Bi-National Commission (BNC) in 2001.

To showcase the strategic nature of the relationship between the two very important countries, the commission is expected to be further upgraded to the Summit level on October 3.

FULL TEXT: President Buhari’s 59th Independence Anniversary broadcast

Dear Compatriots,

1st October each year is an opportunity for us to reflect and thank God for his endless blessings on our country.

It is also a time for us, collectively, to:

* Remember the sacrifices made by our Founders and great leaders past; by soldiers, by distinguished public servants; by traditional leaders, by our workers —- sacrifices on which Nigeria has been built over the 59 years since Independence in 1960; and

* Rededicate ourselves to attaining the goals which we have set for ourselves: a united, prosperous and purposeful nation in the face of 21st century opportunities and challenges.

In the past four years, the majority of Nigerians have committed to Change for the Better. Indeed, this Administration was re-elected by Nigerians on a mandate to deliver positive and enduring Change – through maintaining our National Security; restoring sustainable and inclusive Economic Growth and Development; and fighting Corruption against all internal and external threats.

This Change can only be delivered if we are united in purpose, as individuals and as a nation. We must all remain committed to achieving this positive and enduring Change. As I stated four years ago, “Change does not just happen… We must change our lawless habits, our attitude to public office and public trust… simply put, to bring about change, we must change ourselves by being law-abiding citizens.”

Security
Good Governance and Economic Development cannot be sustained without an enabling environment of peace and security. In the last four years, we have combatted the terrorist scourge of Boko Haram. We owe a debt of gratitude to our gallant men and women in arms, through whose efforts we have been able to achieve the present results. We are also grateful to our neighbours and allies – within the region and across the world – who have supported us on this front.

The capacity of our armed forces to defend our territorial integrity continues to be enhanced by the acquisition of military hardware as well as continued improvements in the working conditions of our service men and women.

The Ministry of Police Affairs has been resuscitated to oversee the development and implementation of strategies to enhance internal security. My recent assent to the Nigerian Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act has created a legal framework to support our Police with increased fiscal resources to enhance their law enforcement capabilities.

These initiatives are being complemented by the ongoing recruitment of 10,000 constables into the Nigeria Police Force. This clearly demonstrates our commitment to arrest the incidence of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes across our nation.

We remain equally resolute in our efforts to combat militant attacks on our oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta and accelerate the Ogoni Clean-up to address long-standing environmental challenges in that region.

The recent redeployment of the Niger Delta Development Commission from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs underscores our commitment to enhance the living standards of our communities in the Niger Delta, through coordinated and appropriate programmes.

Our attention is increasingly being focused on cyber-crimes and the abuse of technology through hate speech and other divisive material being propagated on social media. Whilst we uphold the Constitutional rights of our people to freedom of expression and association, where the purported exercise of these rights infringes on the rights of other citizens or threatens to undermine our National Security, we will take firm and decisive action.

In this regard, I reiterate my call for all to exercise restraint, tolerance and mutual respect in airing their grievances and frustrations. Whilst the ongoing national discourse on various political and religious issues is healthy and welcome, we must not forget the lessons of our past – lessons that are most relevant on a day such as this.

The path of hatred and distrust only leads to hostility and destruction. I believe that the vast majority of Nigerians would rather tread the path of peace and prosperity, as we continue to uphold and cherish our unity.

Accelerating sustainable and inclusive economy growth

This Administration inherited a skewed economy, where the Oil Sector comprised only 8% of Gross Domestic Product but contributed 70% of government revenue and 90% foreign exchange earnings over the years. Past periods of relatively high economic growth were driven by our reliance on Oil Sector revenues to finance our demand for imported goods and services. Regrettably, previous governments abandoned the residual Investment-driven Non-Oil Sector, which constituted 40% of Gross Domestic Product and comprised agriculture, livestock, agro-processing, arts, entertainment, mining and manufacturing activities that provide millions of jobs for able-bodied Nigerians and utilize locally available raw materials and labour for production.

To address this imbalance, our commitment to achieving economic diversification has been at the heart of our economic strategies under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which I launched on the 5th of April, 2017.

This medium-term development plan charted the trajectory for our economy to exit from recession and return to the path of sustainable, diversified and inclusive growth for Nigerians. Pursuant to these reforms, the economy has recovered and we have had 9 successive quarters of growth since our exit from recession. The exchange rate in the last 3 years has remained stable, with robust reserves of $42.5 billion, up from $23 billion in October 2016.

Learning from the mistakes of the past, this Administration is committed to responsibly managing our oil wealth endowments. We will continue to prudently save our oil income and invest more in the non-oil job-creating sectors.

In this regard, we are significantly increasing investments in critical infrastructure. Last year, capital releases only commenced with the approval of the Budget in June 2018. However, as at 20th June this year, up to N1.74 trillion had been released for capital projects in the 2018 fiscal year.

Implementation of the 2019 Capital Budget, which was only approved in June 2019, will be accelerated to ensure that critical priority projects are completed or substantially addressed. The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has been directed to release N600 billion for Capital Expenditure in the next 3 months.

To maximise impact, we shall continue to increasingly welcome and encourage private capital for infrastructural development through Public Private Partnerships. Through the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, which I initiated in January this year, we are giving incentives to private sector inflow of over N205 billion in 19 Nigerian roads and bridges of 794.4km across in 11 States of the Federation.

As we push to diversify the economy, we still remain focused on optimizing the revenues generated from the oil and gas sector. We will, working with the Legislature, soon pass the Petroleum Industry Bill and amendments to the Deep Offshore Act and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act into law, to ensure Government obtains a fair share of oil revenues, whilst encouraging private sector investment.

We will also continue our fight against illegal bunkering of crude oil and the smuggling of refined petroleum products across our borders, including the diligent prosecution and conviction of offenders found guilty of these acts. Whilst Nigeria remains committed to free and fair continental and international trade, we will not hesitate to take all necessary steps to tackle illegal smuggling, transshipment and other predatory trade practices that destroy jobs in our country.

We are resolute in reforming the power sector. In August this year, we launched the Presidential Power Initiative to modernize the National Grid in 3 phases: starting from 5 Gigawatts to 7 Gigawatts, then to 11 Gigawatts by 2023, and finally 25 Gigawatts afterwards. This programme, in partnership with the German Government and Siemens, will provide end-to-end electrification solutions that will resolve our transmission and distribution challenges.

The programme will also look to localize the development and assembly of smart meters as well as the operations and maintenance capabilities of transmission and distribution infrastructure.

I am pleased with the improved inter-agency collaboration between the Ministry of Power and the regulators in the banking and power sectors to ensure that electricity sales, billings and collections are automated and become cashless.

These initiatives are important to ensure that the technical and collection losses in the sector are substantially reduced. I remain confident that Nigerians will have affordable and uninterrupted electricity supply in the not too distant future.

Our efforts to improve the power sector will complement other infrastructure investments projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, which is investing in the Mambilla Power Plant project, as well as key economic road infrastructure such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge and Abuja-Kano Expressway. The first set of these projects remain on track to be completed by 2022.

Our journey to food security and self-sufficiency is well underway. We have made remarkable progress in almost all segments of the agriculture value chain, from fertilizers to rice, to animal feed production. We shall sustain these policies to ensure additional investments are channeled, thereby creating more jobs in the sector. We must not go back to the days of importing food and thereby exporting jobs.

Our commitment to achieving macroeconomic stability and economic diversification, has been underscored by the merger of the Ministry of Finance with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

This combined Ministry has the important mandate to enhance the management of domestic and global fiscal risks; coordinate policies with the trade and monetary authorities; raise and deploy revenues to fund budgeted expenditure; and integrate annual budgets and medium-term fiscal strategies.

With this, our revenue-generating and reporting agencies will come under much greater scrutiny, going forward, as the new performance management framework will reward exceptional revenue performance, while severe consequences will attend failures to achieve agreed revenue targets.

I recently constituted an Economic Advisory Council to advise me on inclusive and sustainable macroeconomic, fiscal and monetary policies. This independent body will work with relevant Cabinet members and the heads of key monetary, fiscal and trade agencies to ensure we remain on track as we strive for collective prosperity. However, we are also committed to ensure that the inconvenience associated with any painful policy adjustments, is moderated, such that the poor and the vulnerable, who are most at risk, do not bear the brunt.

Our ongoing N500 billion Special Intervention Programme continues to target these vulnerable groups, through the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment Programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme, loans for traders and artisans, Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest families and social housing scheme.

To institutionalize these impactful programmes, we created the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development which shall consolidate and build on our achievements to date. To the beneficiaries of these programmes, I want to reassure you that our commitment to social inclusion will only increase.

Our population growth rate remains amongst the highest in the world, presenting both challenges as well as opportunities. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we provide adequate resources to meet the basic needs of our teeming youth.

Accordingly, we shall continue to invest in education, health, water and sanitation, as well as food security, to ensure that their basic needs are met, while providing them with every opportunity to live peaceful, prosperous and productive lives.

Fighting corruption and restoring good governance

On fighting corruption, our institutional reforms to enforce the Treasury Single Account policy, introduce the Whistle-blowers’ Initiative, expand the coverage of the Integrated Payroll Personnel and Information System as well as the Government Integrated Management Information System have saved billions of Naira over the last four years, and deterred the rampant theft and mismanagement of public funds that have plagued our public service.

The Ministry of Justice, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will continue to address this menace. We are determined to ensure that transparency and good governance are institutionalized in public service.

We must commit to installing a culture of Good Governance in all we do. This Administration has fought against corruption, by investigating and prosecuting those accused of embezzlement and the misuse of public resources. We have empowered teams of prosecutors, assembled detailed databases of evidence, traced the proceeds of crimes and accelerated the recovery of stolen funds.

Furthermore, we partnered with our friends abroad to combat tax evasion, smuggling, terrorism and illicit financial flows. In June 2018, I assented to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, to provide a domestic legal framework for obtaining international assistance in criminal matters.

This measure has already strengthened our law enforcement agencies in obtaining evidence, investigating suspects and facilitating the recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of property implicated as proceeds of crime.

An example is the $300 million recently identified as part of the Abacha money-laundering case, working closely with the Government of the United States of America. The Federal Ministry of Justice is working with the US Department of Justice to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding to expedite the repatriation of these funds.

The P & ID Arbitral Award has underscored the manner in which significant economic damage has been caused by the past activities of a few corrupt and unpatriotic Nigerians.

The policies that we are putting in place today are to ensure such criminal and unpatriotic acts do not go without consequences. Our renewed partnership with the 9th National Assembly will facilitate the swift passage of enabling laws that will institutionalize these anti-corruption efforts in our criminal justice system.

In this connection, I call upon our States to intensify their own efforts to instill greater fiscal transparency and accountability. And to ensure greater fiscal efficiency and optimum use of our very scarce resources.

The blight of Corruption is fighting back. Nevertheless, this is a battle that we shall see through and this is a war, which we shall win by the Grace of God.

I will also call upon all Nigerians, from every walk of life, to combat Corruption at every turn. By choosing to question and confront corrupt practices, by reporting unethical practices or through whistleblowing. Together, we can overcome corruption and will no longer be a country defined by corruption.

Fellow Nigerians, let me reiterate my call for unity across our dear nation. Nigeria will emerge from our present challenges stronger and more resilient than ever – but only if all of us join hands to entrench Good Governance, foster Inclusive Economic Development, and defend and protect our Nation from all those who would wish us ill.

I thank you most sincerely and wish you a Happy Independence Anniversary. May God bless you all, and may He continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Arrested Maina likely for trial over N2bn contract

After a four-year manhunt, fugitive former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, AbdulRasheed Maina, has been arrested.

He was picked up by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) at a hotel in Abuja after he sneaked into the country from his Dubai, United Arab Emirates base, it was learnt last night.

Sources hinted that the DSS might hand him over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for trial over a questionable N2billion biometrics contract.

Explaining how he was arrested, they said the DSS acted on intelligence alert which led to Maina’s arrest.

“Following inter-agency collaboration, intelligence report indicated that Maina had sneaked into the country from Dubai.

“He was trailed to an Abuja hotel where he was arrested after operatives outwitted those who tried to ferry him away in a bullet-proof vehicle.

“He is currently being quizzed. He is likely to be handed over to the EFCC for trial. He has a pending case since 2015.”

Maina was on July 21, 2015 charged alongside Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe and Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited before a Federal High Court on a 24-count charge bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretense.

Although some godfathers tried to smuggle him into the country and attempted to reinstate him to office, the process backfired.

The EFCC in 2017, declared Maina wanted, following his refusal to honour the commission’s invitations.

But in his bid to evade the long arm of the law, Maina, on September 5, 2018, in a suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/957/2918, asked the court to decide whether the Commission can lawfully exercise powers of declaring him wanted, either on its official website or any other media platform, or “harass him.”

Justice Folasade Giwa Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court restrained the anti- graft commission from declaring Maina wanted.

She also gave an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the EFCC and its affiliates or related bodies from further declaring Maina wanted in relation to the issue of the pension scam.

The EFCC said the judgment must not be allowed to stand and filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

Spokesman for DSS, Dr. Peter Afunaya, did not respond to a message sent to him by our correspondent.

Nigeria will be stronger than ever before, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the current challenges confronting Nigeria will not overwhelm the nation.

In a broadcast to mark the nation’s 59th Independence anniversary aired on major radio and television networks, Buhari urged Nigerians to be law-abiding as the government puts measures in place to fix the economy, restore security and drive further the development of infrastructure.

He also spoke about his devotion to the anti-corruption battle and commitment to collaborate with the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to open up the oil sector for the government to deepen its source of income and to open it up to private sector players.

Promising to accelerate the implementation of the outgoing year 2018’s capital budget, Buhari said the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning had been directed to release N600 billion for Capital Expenditure in the next three months.

Besides, he said that the government plans to give incentives to attract private sector inflow of over N205 billion to develop (19) roads and 794.4 km bridges in 11 states through the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme.

The President also promised that Nigerians would have affordable and uninterrupted electricity supply in not too distant future.

He said: “Nigeria will emerge from our present challenges stronger and more resilient than ever – but only if all of us join hands to entrench Good Governance, foster Inclusive Economic Development, and defend and protect our Nation from all those who would wish us ill.”

He said his administration remained committed to delivering positive and enduring change through maintenance of national security; restoration sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development and fighting corruption against all internal and external threats.

On security, he said: “Good governance and economic development cannot be sustained without an enabling environment of peace and security. In the last four years, we have combatted the terrorist scourge of Boko Haram.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to our gallant men and women in arms, through whose efforts we have been able to achieve the present results. We are also grateful to our neighbours and allies – within the region and across the world – who have supported us on this front.

“The capacity of our armed forces to defend our territorial integrity continues to be enhanced by the acquisition of military hardware as well as continued improvements in the working conditions of our service men and women.”

He said the Ministry of Police Affairs was resuscitated to oversee the development and implementation of strategies to enhance internal security.

“My recent assent to the Nigerian Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act has created a legal framework to support our Police with increased fiscal resources to enhance their law enforcement capabilities,” he said.

According to him the recent redeployment of the Niger Delta Development Commission from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs underscored his administration’s commitment to enhance the living standards in the Niger Delta communities through coordinated and appropriate programmes.

Preaching peace to fast-track development, the President said: “I reiterate my call for all to exercise restraint, tolerance and mutual respect in airing their grievances and frustrations. Whilst the ongoing national discourse on various political and religious issues is healthy and welcome, we must not forget the lessons of our past – lessons that are most relevant on a day such as this.

“The path of hatred and distrust only leads to hostility and destruction. I believe that the vast majority of Nigerians would rather tread the path of peace and prosperity, as we continue to uphold and cherish our unity.”

He also spoke on accelerating sustainable and inclusive economy growth, pointing out that his administration has been able to diversify the economy from oil.

“This administration inherited a skewed economy, where the Oil Sector comprised only 8% of Gross Domestic Product but contributed 70% of government revenue and 90% foreign exchange earnings over the years. Past periods of relatively high economic growth were driven by our reliance on oil sector revenues to finance our demand for imported goods and services.

“Regrettably, previous governments abandoned the residual investment-driven Non-Oil Sector, which constituted 40% of Gross Domestic Product and comprised agriculture, livestock, agro-processing, arts, entertainment, mining and manufacturing activities that provide millions of jobs for able-bodied Nigerians and utilise locally available raw materials and labour for production.

“To address this imbalance, our commitment to achieving economic diversification has been at the heart of our economic strategies under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which I launched on the 5th of April, 2017.”