Tuesday , 22 October 2019
Latest
Home » News » Latest (page 4)

Latest

Davido deposits N36m to purchase customised jewelry for Zlatan, other 30BG crew

Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer, David Adedeji Adeleke (Davido), has deposited $100,000 (N36 million) to purchase customised jewelry for Zlatan Ibile, Skibii and seven other members of his 30BG (30billion gang)

The singer rewarded the Nigerian rapper, songwriter and dancer Omoniyi Temidayo Raphael (Zlatan Ibile), who is also in the United States (U.S.) with a customised neck chain and 30 BG pendant.

Zlatan got his gift from Davido after he attended the 40th birthday of the singer’s big brother and also met his dad, Dr Deji Adeleke.

The delighted Zlatan took to his Instagram page @Zlatan Ibile to show gratitude to Davido.

Davido also gifted his older brother an expensive Rolex wristwatch as his older brother, Ayoola Adeleke, marked his 40th birthday.

In the same light, Davido displayed a customized neck chain pendant with the inscription ‘Skibii’ which he bought for Nigerian popular singer, Abbey Elias, (Skiibii Mayana).

The 30BG crew were also not left out as seven of the members, Davido’s 30BG, Asa Asika, Special Spesh, DJ Ecool, Tungee, Lati and Tycoon got the special 30BG championship ring.

In August, Davido purchased a new diamond finger ring known as the 30BG championship ring worth over N54 million.

Davido’s 30BG championship ring has 696 diamonds on it.

The expensive jewelry was purchased from Zaheer of Icebox Diamond and Watches in Atlanta, U.S.

 

Zaheer of Icebox diamond and watches in Atlanta disclosed that Davido’s customised ring was the ‘biggest championship ring he’s ever made with so many carats.’

Aisha Buhari gets new aides, apologises over leaked video

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of new set of aides for his wife, Aisha.

The appointments are with immediate effect.

The appointments were announced in a statement issued on Wednesday by her Director of Information, Suleiman Haruna.

The appointees are Dr. Mairo Almakura, Special Assistant (African First Ladies Peace Mission); Muhammed Albishir, Special Assistant (Organisation of African First Ladies for Development); and Wole Aboderin, Special Assistant (Non-Governmental Organisations).

Others are Aiyu Abdullahi, Special Assistant (Media and Publicity); Zainab Kazeem, Special Assistant (Domestic and Social Events) and Funke Adesiyan, Personal Assistant (Domestic and Social Events).

Meanwhile, Aisha has apologised to her children, immediate family members and Nigerians over the embarrassment that an online videos had caused.

She also pledged to construct a regional secretariat for the African First Ladies Peace Mission.

The AFLPM, which was established after the Beijing Conference of 1995, has been in the custody of Nigeria, with leadership rotating among African First Ladies.

The First Lady, according to a statement issued by her Director of Information, Suleiman Haruna, stated this during a solidarity visit by governors’ wives from the 36 states to the Presidential Villa.

“Commenting on the videos circulating on social networks, [Aisha] Buhari extended her apology to her children, her immediate family members and all well-meaning Nigerians over the embarrassment that the videos had caused,” the statement said.

She also expressed appreciation to the President for approving a new set of aides to assist her in carrying out her various responsibilities.

Earlier, First Lady of Borno state, Falmata Umara Zulum, representing Northern First Ladies Forum and Betsy Obaseki, representing Southern First Ladies Forum spoke during the occasion.

Zulum said they were at the Villa to welcome her back after a long absence, and expressed their unalloyed loyalty and support to her initiatives, especially through the Future Assured Programme, which she said has made her a role model even to other African women.

On her part, Obaseki said they received news of the First Lady’s return with great excitement, praying God to continue to protect her.

She used the opportunity to thank the President for approving additional special assistants for her, saying this is an indication of the regard he has for her work.

The event was attended by wife of the Vice President, Dolapo Osinbajo; wife of the Senate President, Maryam Ahmed Lawan; and wife of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Salamatu Gbajabiamila, as well as wives of governors and legislators.

‘Many trapped’ as petrol-laden truck explodes near Onitsha market

Many people in Onitsha, Anambra state are “currently trapped” in their houses as a result of a fire outbreak in the commercial city.

A resident said a petrol-laden truck, which lost control, exploded after ramming into some buildings in the Upper Iweka axis of the city.

The incident sparked confusion among residents and traders at nearby Ochanga market.

Over 100 shops were reportedly razed goods such as clothing and electronics affected as well.

“Many buildings are on fire and the firefighters are nowhere to be found,” a resident said.

Another resident said some of the traders at the market were unable to immediately escape from the scene, leading to injuries.

He said the fire spread quickly as a result of the flammable goods being sold in the area.

“Most of the goods there are foot wears. So, when the tanker fell, it was easy to spread among the road and across shops. A shop belonging to one of my friends was completely razed.”

In a video of the tragic incident, at least four houses were seen on fire.

The fire had not been put out as of the time of filing this report.

Igbo leaders seek punishment for abductors of nine Kano children

Some Igbo leaders based in Kano say those who abducted children from the state and trafficked them to the south-east must be punished.

Last week, the Kano police command announced that it had arrested eight suspects who specialise in the buying and selling of minors and trafficking in persons, were tracked and arrested in Onitsha, Anambra state.

Nine kidnapped children were rescued while the suspects were interrogated.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ebenezer Chima, president-general, Igbo Community Association in Kano, and Boniface Ibekwe, Sarki Ndigbo, condemned the action of the suspects.

They called on the police to deal with them in accordance with the law.

“We are recommending stiff penalty for the culprits to serve as a deterrent to others who may be nursing ambition for such nefarious act,” the statement read.

The duo commended Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, and Muhammadu Sanusi, emir of Kano, over the manner in which they handled the issue.

The Igbo leaders also commended the security agents “for their proactive investigation and synergy that led to the recovery of the victims”.

“The leadership therefore enjoined Igbos in Kano to remain law-abiding and go about their legitimate businesses without fear of molestation,” the statement read.

On Monday, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) had sued for calm over the issue.

In a statement by Ishaq Akintola, its director, the group asked Christians to expose the “bad eggs” among them.

NLC suspends strike as talks on minimum wage continue

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has shelved its planned strike to continue talks with the federal government on consequential adjustments to the new minimum wage.

The negotiation, which started on Tuesday, did not result in a resolution by the parties, but concessions were made for further talks on Wednesday.

The labour union is asking for a 29 percent increase for workers on salary grade level 07 to 14 and 24 percent for salary grade level 15 to 17.

But the government is proposing an 11 percent increase for grade level 07 to 14 and 6.5 percent for officers on grade level 15 to 17.

Speaking with journalists, Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, asked the union to consider the state of the economy in its demands.

“I serve as the conciliator so I am not on any side. I belong to the two parties. As you can see, there was no fight and no walkout. That shows that things are going on well. We will continue tomorrow (Wednesday) because of areas that we could not touch.

“I don’t want labour to misinform workers. They should not be misinformed. Workers should know that this is a consequential adjustment and not a holistic wage review. We must give the government the benefit of the doubt. I am for labour and I will not sit and watch them being cheated.

“I will also not sit and watch labour intimidate government. If you dangle a strike, it is intimidation and the International Labour Organisation Convention does not permit it. People should negotiate freely. If government threatens you in the course of negotiation, it is intimidation.

“I am your friend and friend of government. In fact, government feels I am not doing enough. That is why I am talking to you so that you can talk to your people. We cannot allow the government to shut down the economy because it wants to pay salaries and wages.

“The 2020 budget of N10.3tr has N3.8tr as personnel cost without overhead. If you add running cost and other incidental costs, the total recurrent budget as presented to the National Assembly has taken 76 per cent. Where do we get the money to build roads, airport, rails, health centres, schools etc.?”

Amaechi Asugwuni, deputy president of the NLC, said the meeting on Wednesday will be a decider of what will happen next.

“For us at labour, the matters are straightforward but negotiations are still going on. We thought the meeting would be concluded today but that prediction was not successful. Therefore, adjournment became necessary. The struggle will still continue,” Asugwuni said.

“We will meet again tomorrow (Wednesday) and that meeting will decide the fate of both parties. So far, commitments have been shown by both parties but we believe that the areas that are still in contest are critical and we urge government to see how it can shift ground positively. We expect that Wednesday’s meeting will end positively.”

N500, N1000 denominations most commonly counterfeited banknotes – CBN report

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday, said that a total of 119,663 pieces of counterfeit notes with a nominal value of N98.82 million was recorded in 2018.

The bank said this in the Currency Operations 2018 Annual Report, posted on its website.

The CBN said the figure indicated a decline of 1.30 percent in volume terms and an increase of 5.77 Per cent in value terms, when compared with 118,126 pieces with a nominal value of N93.43 million recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.

The regulator said that the ratio of counterfeit notes to volume of banknotes in circulation was 18 pieces per million, compared to 16 pieces per million banknotes discovered in 2017.

It said that the N500 and N1000 denominations remained the most commonly counterfeited banknotes, which accounted for 65.29 percent and 34.49 per cent respectively of the total counterfeit notes discovered.

The bank said that to preserve the integrity of the banknotes in circulation, it partnered with Bankers Warehouse PLC and security agencies, to intensify efforts at mitigating the incidences of counterfeiting during the period under review.

The apex bank also said that the Currency- in-Circulation (CIC), grew by 0.8 percent to N2, 329.7 billion as at December 2018 ending.

The report noted that the growth in CIC reflected the high dominance of cash in the economy and increase in economic activities.

“A breakdown of the CIC indicated that in terms of volume and value, the proportion of higher denomination banknotes (N100, N200, N500 and N1000) in total, rose from 41.9 to 44.3 percent and 96.9 to 97.6 percent, respectively.

“The lower denomination currency notes continued to be preponderant in terms of volume, constituting 55.7 percent of the total.

“In value terms, it constituted 2.4 percent of the total banknotes. The ratio of CIC to nominal GDP, which measures the moneyness of the economy, fell slightly by 0.1 percentage point, to 1.8 percent in 2018.”

It said that the decline in the CIC/GDP ratio reflected increased usage of e-payment products such as electronic payments card.

Army veteran who lost his manhood on the battlefield gets penis transplant

A veteran whose lower half was blown off in a bomb blast has undergone one of the world’s first penis transplants.

The squaddie, named only as Ray, has hailed the groundbreaking operation “one of the best decisions I ever made”.

He was tending to wounded soldiers under an ambush by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan when an IED detonated beneath him.

The explosion in 2010 took away the US Navy corpsman’s legs above the knee – as well as his genitals, which was the most devastating for him.

In an interview with MIT Technology Review, he said: “I remember everything froze and I was upside down.

“I remember thinking a quick thought: ‘This isn’t good.’ And then I was on my back.”

Fresh hope

In 2013, Ray met with a plastic surgeon, Dr Richard Redett of Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, to talk about his options.

Dr Redett said that Ray, who is in his mid-30s and walks with two prosthetic legs, might be an ideal candidate to undergo a groundbreaking penis transplant.

Ray said: “This was actually something that could fix me. I could go back to being normal again.”

Until recently, the only treatment available for men in his situation would have been phalloplasty – a transplant of a makeshift member made of tissue, blood vessels and nerves taken from a forearm or thigh, which requires an external pump to become erect.

A penis transplant is far more complex than other types of organ transplants.

Grafting a donor penis involves many different kinds of tissue, and requires stitching nerves and blood vessels smaller than 2mm wide.

Dr Redett said: “The threads are smaller than a human hair. Unless you’re under a [micro]scope, you can’t really even see it.”


Veteran has penis transplant

The unnamed war hero received a penis, scrotum and portion of abdominal wall from a dead donor

At the time of their meeting, only one person had undergone such a procedure, and only three patients in the world have since then.

The first rudimentary penis transplant was performed in 2006 on a 44-year-old in China, who reportedly soon had it removed at his wife’s behest.

In 2014, a 21-year-old from Cape Town, South Africa, who suffered gangrene after a botched circumcision underwent a penis transplant.

Next, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital operated on a 64-year-old man who lost his penis to cancer in 2016.

And in 2017, the same South African doctors from the 2014 transplant did so again on a 41-year-old man who also suffered from a circumcision gone awry.

Complex op

It took 14 hours for Dr Redett and his team to complete Ray’s procedure in March 2018.

His op involved a transplanted piece of tissue measuring 10ins by 11ins in total and weighing 5lbs.

He said it was “the most complex [penis transplant] to date,” and the first for a military veteran.

Ray, who’d lost the entirety of his reproductive organs, was also given a new scrotum – but not testicles, for ethical reasons involving the donor’s sperm, according to his doctors.

The Technology Review reports that a total of 1,367 Americans in the military suffered major genital injury in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2013 — and experts say it’s taking a major toll on veterans’ mental health.

“They’re asking where the testicles and the penis are,” reports the journal.

“You can’t put a number on how significantly this affects one of these wounded warriors’ lives.”

However, some doctors — such as Dr Hiten Patel, a chief resident at the Johns Hopkins Brady Urological Institute — argue the procedure is medically unnecessary.

Dr Patel said a penis transplant “lacks both life-saving and life-enhancing properties when compared to a readily available alternative in phalloplasty.”

Considering an estimated 41 per cent of veterans deployed between 2001 and 2007 were more likely to contemplate suicide, a devastating, lingering trauma like this could mean life or death long after physical recovery.

Source: TheSun UK

Queen appoints Nigerian-born Ugbana Oyet as House of Common Serjeant at Arms

Queen Elizabeth II has appointed Nigerian-born Ugbana Oyet, 43, as the UK House of Common Serjeant at Arms.

The appointment was announced by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow on Tuesday.

According to the announcement shared on the website of the House of Commons, Oyet is a chartered engineer and he was appointed following the retirement of Mohammed Kamal El-Hajji in July.

With this appointment, Oyet has become the new ceremonial head of security and the only person legally allowed to carry a sword in the House of Commons.

It was reported that Ugbana was already well known to many members of the House through his role as Parliament’s Principal Electrical Engineer and Programme Director for the Estate-wide Engineering Infrastructure and Resilience (EWEIR) Programme – which aims to make the parliamentary estate carbon neutral by 2050.

With his new appointment, Oyet would become even more visible as the carrier of the House of Commons mace during the Speaker’s procession, and into the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament.

Reacting to his appointment, Oyet said, “It is a great honour to serve in such a historic role, which combines the needs and challenges of the modern era, while also maintaining the dignity and essential traditions that have helped Parliament endure.

“I’m a real people-person and love working closely with MPs, staff and members of the public, so I will do my best to enhance morale and improve the excellent service already provided by the Serjeant’s office.”

For his part, Speaker Bercow said, “I have known Ugbana for several years and have always been impressed by his ability, his attitude and his approach to other people. My longstanding impression of him was confirmed when he won a diversity and inclusion award for being an ‘an inspiring role model’.”

Born in Nigeria, Ugbana moved to the UK with his family in 1991. He is married to Claire, his childhood sweetheart. The couple has four children – three sons and a daughter aged between 14 and 23.

2020 Budget: Fresh borrowing to raise Nigeria’s public debt to N27 trillion

The Federal Government’s plan to borrow an additional N1.92 trillion in 2020 will take Nigeria’s total public debt portfolio to about N27.62 trillion, an additional N15.5 trillion borrowed since the first swearing-in of the Muhammadu Buhari administration four years ago.

In the 2020 Appropriation Bill presented to the National Assembly last week, President Muhammadu Buhari said his government will take new loans during the year.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said on Monday, during the public presentation of the details of the budget, that the borrowings would come from domestic and external sources.

She said about N745 billion would be expected from domestic lenders, while about N850 billion come from foreign borrowing.

Additional projects-tied loans totaling about N328.1 billion, the minister said, are also being expected during the year from various multi-lateral and bi-lateral.

The Minister said the additional borrowing was designed to help government finance part of the over N2.2 trillion deficit in the 2020 budget.

The total fiscal deficit in this year’s budget includes project-tied loans by government-owned enterprises.

Besides, Mrs Ahmed said the deficit also resulted from the inability of the government to realize over N710 billion as proceeds from the oil assets ownership restructuring earmarked for this year.

On Tuesday, the Debt Management Office said in an update posted on its website that the country’s debt portfolio rose to about N25.7 trillion as of June 30 this year.

With the latest plan to borrow another N1.92 trillion in 2020, Nigeria’s debt profile would have risen by over 128 percent in five years, from N12.12 trillion on June 30, 2015 to about N27.62 trillion on June 30 this year.

When the present administration came to office, the federal government’s total domestic debt stock was about N8.4trillion, while states’ domestic debts stood at about N1.7trillion.

The external debt stock of the federal and state governments was about N2.03 trillion.

Details published in Abuja on Tuesday by the DMO showed the Federal Government’s debt as at June 30 this year climbed by about 60 percent to N13.4 trillion, while the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory debt also rose to N3.97 billion.

Of the total debt portfolio, the federal government accounts for 79 per cent, about N20.4 trillion of the N25.7 trillion outlay. This consists of external (N7.02 trillion) and domestic (N13.97 trillion).

Also, the States and the FCT account for about N5.28 trillion, consisting of external N1.31 trillion and domestic N3.97 trillion.

Despite growing concerns by Nigerians, the government has insisted its debt-to-gross domestic product is not only one of the lowest among its peers but also within an acceptable threshold.

Data from tradingeconomics.com show Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP stands at 21.30 per cent as of December 2017.

But the International Monetary Fund has continued to criticize the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio as low, saying it can hardly guarantee the risk in the event of a global economic downturn.

How scammers use my office to defraud Nigerians —Boss Mustapha

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has said that job scammers are directing unsuspecting Nigerians seeking government appointments to submit their curriculum vitae to a non-existing desk in his office, while also charging a fee for the fraudulent activity.

A statement signed by the Director of Information at Mustapha’s office, Willie Bassey, noted on Thursday.

The SGF also noted that he was aware of forged introductory letters purportedly issued from his office to secure favours from individuals and corporate entities.

The statement reads, “The attention of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has been drawn to unrelenting activities of faceless persons using the social media and other platforms to lure unsuspecting members of the public to submit their curriculum vitae at a fee, to a non-existing desk at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, for Federal Government appointments.

“The Office is similarly aware of inaccurate information being peddled around regarding constituency projects being executed under its supervision.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation neither executes nor supervises constituency projects.

“Also, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has become aware of numerous forged introductory letters purportedly issued from his office, seeking diverse favours from individuals and corporate entities for personal gains.”

The statement further warned the public not to engage the services of such individuals; while adding that efforts were on to apprehend those behind the trend.

It also directed the public to contact the SGF office through the appropriate channel.

“The general public is by this notice advised to beware of the clandestine activities of these dubious and fraudulent persons and their cohorts going about to fleece unsuspecting members of the public.

“Assuredly, the government has evolved measures to track these unpatriotic and faceless persons and will bring to justice anyone found engaging in these unwholesome activities,” the statement added.

Ben Enwonwu’s artwork, ‘Christine’, sells for $1.4m at London auction

A painting by Ben Enwonwu has been bought for $1.4 million at an auction in London.

The artwork, ‘Christine’, was bought after the owners googled the artist’s signature, according to the BBC.

Painted in 1971 in Lagos state, the artwork is said to have been in the home of the family of the sitter since.

Sotheby, the auction house, reportedly said the sitters had no idea of the significance of the painting.

“They were unaware of the significance of the painting or the importance of the artist, until a chance ‘googling’ of the signature,” Sotheby was quoted to have said.

Christine, the subject of the painting, was reportedly born in New York but was said to have moved to Ghana in her late 20s to live with her stepfather.

She then moved to Lagos in 1969 where she reportedly struck up a friendship with the artist.

Prof Enwonwu, who died in 1994, also produced, ‘Tutu’, which was described as ‘African Mona Lisa’ by Ben Okri, a novelist.

Tutù, a portrait of an Ìfẹ́ princess, was painted in 1973 but got missing in 1975. The painting was later sold last year for $1.5m after it was discovered in a London flat.

Enwonwu, who was celebrated as “Africa’s greatest artist” was a student at Goldsmiths, Ruskin College, and the Slade School of Fine Arts, London in the 1940s.

He became more known when he was commissioned to create a bronze sculpture of Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Nigeria in 1956.

His art was described as “a unique form of African modernism”.

 

Ambode ignored procurement process on purchase of 820 buses, says ex-commissioner

Olusegun Banjo, a former commissioner for economic planning and budget in Lagos, says Akinwunmi Ambode, former governor of the state, did not involve members of his cabinet in the purchase of 820 buses.

Banjo made the allegation during his appearance before the committee set up by the state house of assembly to probe Ambode and four ex-commissioners.

The state assembly had threatened to issue a warrant for the arrest of the former governor and some ex-commissioners.

This followed preliminary reports presented by two committees set up to investigate the purchase of the buses.

Ambode who was expected to appear before the 16-man committee on Tuesday did not show up. The three other former commissioners also failed to appear, but wrote to the assembly that they were out of the country.

Banjo alleged that the former governor ignored the procurement tradition he met on the ground, saying Ambode’s administration “was not transparent” and that “a lot of things could be done without the knowledge of the commissioners”.

“The way the ministry was structured (under Ambode), it did not allow us to function well,” he said.

“The N24bn did not come to my ministry. We didn’t have a running system. As a commissioner, I could not approve one naira. All the MDAs approached the governor directly.

“I don’t know what happens to unbudgeted funds when it comes because the ministry of finance does not inform my ministry; we don’t have a running system.”

But when Shukrat Umar, accountant-general of the state, was asked if the budget for the purchase of the buses was approved by the state executive council, she said: “The state treasury office acted on exco’s approval.”

“The buses were in line with exco’s approval. I would not know whether the Paris refund club was discussed or not.”

Mudashiru Obasa, speaker of the assembly, said the house would invite the former governor through a newspaper publication.

Obasa said if the ex-governor failed to show up then, the assembly would have no choice than to issue a warrant for his arrest.

‘Drugs, guns stockpiled ahead of guber poll’ — Bayelsa traditional ruler

Ibenanaowei Dakolo, traditional ruler of Ekpetiama kingdom in Bayelsa, has alleged that weapons are being stockpiled in the state ahead of the governorship election.

Dakolo raised the alarm on Tuesday when the traditional rulers in the state met with officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Yenagoa.

Proliferation of arms has remained a major concern during elections in Nigeria.

Dakolo said there was the need to mop up arms being held in the state, warning that failure to do so would lead to violence when the result of the election is announced.

“There are a lot of loose weapons out there, we all know. There are a lot of drugs out there. These drugs are not made in Bayelsa drugs, neither are the weapons made in Bayelsa,” he said.

“There are weapons that are around here because either the customs did not do their job or the security agents did not do theirs and so, they are around.

“The process of electioneering is a conflict, where someone wants a party to win and some else wants the other to win. When someone is announced winner, some will be jubilating while others will be shooting. So, can these weapons be removed?

“The IGP announced recently that even if you have registered weapons, return it. With the gunshots I heard yesterday, I know they have not been returned and most have not been registered.

“There should be a mopping up exercise to ensure that weapons are mopped up.”

Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, said the commission is meeting with the traditional rulers to seek their support to ensure a hitch-free election.

“The traditional rulers don’t belong to any political party, and they don’t support any candidate. But they have the network,” he said.

“That’s why we said we will start a series of consultations in Bayelsa with the traditional rulers. So we are energised and feel reassured that the next governorship election in Bayelsa will be remarkably different from the previous ones.”

Dibal Yakadi, assistant inspector general of police (AIG) in charge of zone 5, said the police are prepared to ensure the election was peaceful.

He said: “There are security issues raised but let me assure the royal fathers here that the police is prepared If there is any security issue, you can call on the police.

“We are assuring you that snatching of ballot boxes and other vices will be curtailed.”

Buhari issues new travel guidelines for ministers

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a directive for ministers, director-generals and other top government officials to submit travel plans for clearance.

Willie Bassey, director of information to Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), announced this in a statement on Wednesday.

Bassey also said that henceforth, “travel days will no longer attract payment of Estacode Allowances as duration of official trips shall be limited to only the number of days of the event as contained in the supporting documents to qualify for public funding”.

Some of the directives in the statement are:

  • Without approval from the president, ministers, permanent secretaries, chief executive officers and directors in the ministry are restricted to not more than two (2) foreign travels in a quarter.
  • When a minister is head of a delegation, the size of such delegation should not exceed four,
  • All public funded travels (local and foreign) must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence.

The statement said the development is to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of resources.

The auditor-general of the federation has also been directed to treat all expenditures that contravene these guidelines as ineligible.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved for immediate implementation, additional cost saving measures aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in the area of official travels,” the statement read.

“Henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are required to submit their Yearly Travel Plans for statutory meetings and engagements to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and/or the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation for express clearance within the first quarter of the fiscal year, before implementation.

“They are further required to make their presentation using the existing template and also secure approvals on specific travels as contained in the plan, from the appropriate quarters.

“All foreign travels must be for highly essential statutory engagements that are beneficial to the interest of the country. Except with the express approval of Mr. President, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Chief Executive Officers and Directors are restricted to not more than two (2) foreign travels in a quarter.”

The president also approved for ministers, permanent secretaries, special advisers, senior special assistants to the president, chairmen of extra-ministerial departments and chief executive officers of parastatals who are entitled, to continue to fly business class while other categories of public officers are to travel on economy class.

The directive was issued less than one week after Buhari barred his cabinet members from foreign trips until the budget defence at the national assembly is over.

Earlier, Chris Ngige, minister of labour, had said the government would review the salaries and allowances of political office holders across the country.

How economy may suffer under total border closure

Nigerian economic stakeholders have warned the Federal Government that the complete closure of the nation’s land borders portends danger to the economy.

The caution came after yesterday’s announcement by Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Hameed Ali that all categories of goods would no longer be allowed to pass through the borders.

At a joint news conference with his Nigeria Immigration Service counterpart, Mohammed Babandede, in Abuja, Ali said: “For now, all goods, whether illicit or non-illicit, are banned from going and coming (sic) into Nigeria. Let me add that for the avoidance of doubt, we included all goods because all goods can equally come through our seaports.”

The Guardian learnt that almost all the scanning machines at the nation’s seaports are currently malfunctioning, with customs officials adopting 100 per cent manual inspection of cargoes.

He said: “We hope that by the time we get to the end of this exercise, we would have exactly, between us and our neighbours, agreed on the type of goods that should enter and exit our country.

“For now, all import and export of cargoes from the land borders are banned, until there is an agreement with the neighbouring countries on the kind of goods traded with Nigeria.

“For that reason, we have deemed it necessary, for now, that importers of such goods should go through our controlled borders where we have scanners to verify the kind of goods.”

Ali explained that although the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol permits free movement of people, security must be prioritised. “We want to protect our nation. We want to make sure that our people are protected. You must be alive and well to begin to ask for your rights. Your rights come when you are well and alive.

“Go and ask the people in Maiduguri when Boko Haram was harassing their lives. The only question was survival. There was no question of right. This time, Nigeria must survive first before we begin to ask for our rights,” the customs boss said.

It was learnt that Niger Republic has banned the export of rice to Nigeria following the closure. Ali confirmed this, saying: “As a result, Niger Republic has already circulated an order banning the exportation of rice in any form to Nigeria.”

But Lucky Amiwero, National President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), said that by the provisions of Section 15 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), the customs boss does not have the power to issue a declaration on the restriction of the border.

“They are supposed to have engaged in mutual administrative assistance. Many countries are into that, and Nigeria is a signatory to that agreement. This would enable them to curtail the problems administratively…issues like smuggling, cross border crime and other customs matters.

“Nigeria, as a big brother, is supposed to have interfaced with other countries – with Benin Republic, Niger and others because they are all signatories. They are expected to go into negotiation. But if there is any disagreement in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), then the border could be closed. But rushing to close the border this way is dangerous to the economy,” he said.

Amiwero noted further that the restriction contradicts the continental trade protocols signed by Nigeria. According to him, “In the ECOWAS protocol is the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, among others, which are being jeopardised as the case is.”

Also, Increase Uche, President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), described the policy as ill-timed and of great danger to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

He said while Buhari’s security advisers might have genuine concerns, the “unfortunate” decision is coming at a time Nigeria had just signed the AfCTA agreement. According to him, the measure would make investors view the nation as “unserious” and as a place where a stable environment is not guaranteed.

“As we speak, there was a global body that was planning an international conference in Nigeria, trying to drag multinational companies to the conference. But they have changed the venue to Ghana. That is one of the disadvantages, when you take such actions suddenly. You will impede programmes that are aimed at boosting the economy.”

He warned that the action would endanger all trade agreements and contracts sealed by many parties on trans-border business transactions. Traders and transporters will also suffer, he said. According to him, the disadvantages far outweigh any advantages. Government should therefore retrace its steps.

“The critical area we need to be careful with is not to drive out investors. If there is no creditability in what we are doing, it will affect the FDIs that are coming into the country. The action will also affect trade at Yuletide. Government should go back to the drawing book and initiate policies that would benefit Nigerians and the economy, rather than this fire brigade approach,” he said.

Similarly, a youth group, Yoruba Socio-cultural Association, in Ibadan yesterday issued a statement condemning the closure of the borders. It said the current move by the Federal Government “to curb insecurity and boost local products is horrific.” It also warned that more than a million people could become jobless as a result of the policy.

Signed by National President Olalekan Hammed, the statement said: “The agricultural sector must be viable enough for local consumption before border closure could be done reasonably, if not, inflation will continue unendingly.”

But Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Sabo Nanono yesterday maintained that Nigeria is not in jeopardy of a food crisis. “I think we are producing enough to feed ourselves. I think there is no hunger in Nigeria. There could be inconveniences. When people talk about hunger in this government I just laugh,” he said at a media briefing to mark World Food Day in Abuja.

He added: “That’s the basis for the closure of the border. And I think Nigeria tried to make these neighbouring countries understand our predicament but to no avail. So long as these countries bordering us will not respect Nigeria’s stand on food importation, the borders will remain closed.”

Guardian

Buhari seeks Senate’s approval to pay N10.069bn to Kogi Govt

President Muhammadu Buhari has requested the Senate to approve the payment of N10, 069, 692, 410.15 as settlement for promissory note issued to the Kogi State Government for executing Federal Government projects.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, read Buhari’s letter of request on the floor of the Senate.

The President’s letter was titled: “Request for the resolution of the National Assembly for the issuance of N10.069B promissory notes to Kogi State Government under the promissory note program and bond issuance to settle inherited Local debt and contractual obligations of the Federal Government to refund the State on project executed by the State on behalf of the Federal Government.”

The letter reads in part: “Based on my request for the resolution of the National Assembly approving the establishment of a promissory note program and the bond issuance to settle inherited Local debts and contractual obligation by the Federal Government, the 8th National Assembly passed resolutions approving the issuance of the promissory notes to refund State Governments for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.

The resolutions of the 8th Assembly was conveyed through three different letters from the Clerk of the National Assembly as follows:

“Letter dated 27th of July 2018, Ref: NASS/CNS/106/vol 10/277 which approved the issuance of promissory notes to 21 States.

“Letter dated January, 29th, 2019 Ref, NASS/CNS/106/vol 11/004 which approved the issuance of promissory notes to Delta and Taraba States.

“Letter dated May, 23 2019 with Ref: NASS/CNS/106/vol.11/164 which approved the issuance of promissory notes to Bauchi State.

“The three resolutions approved the issuance of promissory notes to 24 out of the 25 State Governments that requested and the only State for which approval has not been given is Kogi State with an outstanding claim of N10.069B.

“The Senate may wish to know that the claim of all the 25 States for project executed on behalf of the Federal Government were verified by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Bureau of Public Procurement for which the Federal Executive Council approved the claims which they were forwarded for the approval of the National Assembly.

“The Senate will note that subsequent resolution of the National Assembly approving the refunds to the 24 State Governments, the Federal Government has issued promisory notes to all the 24 State Governments for the settlement of their claims.

“Accordingly the Senate is hereby requested to kindly approve the issuance of promisory notes in the sum of N10, 069, 692, 410.15 to Kogi State for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.

“While looking forward to the timely consideration for the refund to Kogi State.”

Lawan, after reading the President’s letter on floor of the Senate, referred the request to the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt for further legislative work and to report back to plenary in two weeks.

Aisha Buhari: Mamman Daura’s family denied me access to villa house

Aisha Buhari, wife of the president, says she was denied access to an apartment at the presidential villa by the family of Mamman Daura, Buhari’s nephew.

Aisha was reacting to a statement by Fatima, daughter of Daura, who said the president’s wife attacked her inside the presidential villa.

In a video which trended on Friday, the president’s wife was seen speaking angrily and complaining about being denied access to her apartment.

Fatima, who recorded the video, said she least expected Buhari’s wife to act in a violent manner.

But in another interview with BBC Hausa, Aisha reportedly confirmed that she was the one speaking in the video.

She said she reacted angrily because she was denied access to parts of the villa by Daura and his family.

She said Daura’s family acted the way they did because Buhari had “sacked” them from the house.

She was quoted as saying Fatima recorded the video while laughing at and mocking her.

“I was the one in that video and this person you see standing at my back are my security personnel,” the first lady was quoted to have said.

“It was Fatima, the daughter of Mamman Daura that shot the video in front of my security and everybody there. She was actually recording the whole thing right in front of me and was laughing and mocking me.

“They did that because my husband sacked them from the house. He told them to get all their belongings and leave the house for my son (Yusuf) to occupy.

“I left them and wanted to get to one of the rooms but they prevented me from getting through, I left them and took another way yet I met the store locked.”

The first lady has been critical of Daura, although in a veiled tone.

Villa feud shows disorganisation in Buhari’s presidency

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the dirty public fight between the First Lady, Aisha Buhari and President Muhammadu Buhari’s cousins, over rooms in the Presidential villa, as disgraceful and further underlines the managerial ineptitude and leadership failures of the Buhari Presidency.

This was contained in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan on Monday.

The party said the chaos in the Villa further exposes the Buhari Presidency’s poor management of issues and highlights why it has failed monumentally in delivering on any of its responsibilities in governance, thus leaving our dear nation in a shambolic situation in the last five years.

According to PDP, the feud further uncovers the impunity, disorderliness and vanity that pervade the Buhari Presidency and how the once serious and productive seat of power has been turned into a house of comedy and an overcrowded quarter for illegal occupants.

“Nigerians can now see why it has become difficult for our nation to witness any stability or progress under the Buhari Presidency and why the Buhari-led Federal Government has been bedeviled by confusion, infighting, policy flip-flops, statutory violations, promotion of violence, ingrained corruption and administrative indolence while millions of Nigerians wallow in poverty and neglect.

“Nigerians and the world can equally see why no one expects the Buhari Presidency to articulate any progressive idea or proffer and implement any solution to the myriad of economic and security problems it caused our nation; they can now see why there is no hope in sight and why compatriots are daily agitating for a new order.

“Our party notes that our dear nation has suffered enough disgrace from the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC). The PDP therefore charges President Buhari to immediately apologize to Nigerians for his failures and be ready to vacate office for more competent hands, since it has become obvious that he is leading our country to nowhere”.

The PDP urged the National Assembly to investigate the alleged abuse of office by President Buhari following revelation that he assigns official facilities in the Presidential villa to unauthorized persons that have no official roles in governance, and apply appropriate sanctions.

The PDP also urged the National Assembly to sanitize the Presidential villa by probing allegations of illegal allotment of offices and apartments to unauthorized persons, including scammers and corruption fronts in Aso Rock.

The party however appealed Nigerians to remain calm as such provocative and disgraceful developments will soon come to an end with the retrieval of our stolen mandate at the Supreme Court.

NAF jets bomb Boko Haram commanders during meeting in Sambisa

 

The Nigerian Air Force fighter jets have blown up a building in Boboshe area of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, where some Boko Haram terrorists’ commanders were holding a meeting.

The NAF aircraft conducted the air interdiction on Sunday after successive days of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions confirmed that the building was used as an operational base of the insurgents.

According to a release by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the Boko Haram commanders were believed to be planning an attack on troops’ location.

The NAF spokesman said, “The Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole decimated the location at Boboshe on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest, being used by Boko Haram terrorists as a meeting venue.

“The attack was conducted following successive days of ISR missions, coupled with human intelligence reports, which established that a building within the settlement was being used as a rendezvous by Boko Haram where their commanders assembled to take instructions before launching attacks against our troops and innocent civilians.

“Accordingly, the ATF detailed its fighter aircraft to attack the hideout, scoring accurate hits within the designated area leading to the decimation of the target structure. Several terrorists were killed as a result of the strikes.

“The NAF, operating in concert with surface forces, will sustain its efforts to completely destroy all remnants of the terrorists in the North-East.”

Police discover chained kids in another torture home in Daura, arrest cleric

The police in Katsina State on Monday arrested a seventy-eight-year-old cleric, Mallam Bello Maialmajri, and owner of a spiritual rehabilitation centre in Daura where inmates were kept and subjected to inhuman conditions.

Also arrested along with him were two men whose names were not disclosed.

The Katsina State Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba, led the team to the centre on Monday where over sixty inmates were seen in terrible conditions.

The centre is located at Nasarawa quarters, the Sabongari area in Daura.

The Commissioner, after going through the whole premises including where inmates sleep and perform chores, ordered the Divisional Police officer for Daura, Asp M.O.Wakili, and the police team from the town to take over the premises and ensure the security of the inmates.

Buba inspected all the rooms inside the rehabilitation centre including where the chains that were being used to tie up the inmates were being kept.

The police commissioner said, “Based on the information the command received, we were here to see things for ourselves and take appropriate action.

“We learnt that the inmates here are over three hundred and because of the sordid and inhuman treatments they are being subjected to, the inmates revolted yesterday( Sunday). Some of the inmates escaped while these ones you are seeing now, about sixty of them stayed back.

“The inmates are from various parts of Nigeria, Niger Republic and from Katsina as well. But after we leave here today, I am going to meet the Emir of Daura and Governor Aminu Masari on the issue. We shall do the profiling of the remaining inmates with a view to determining where they are from and we shall thereafter appeal to their parents and their guardians to come and pick them up.

“As you heard from the inmates, apart from being subjected to inhuman conditions, some of their so-called teachers practised homosexual acts with them. Although the teachers escaped in the course of the confusion when my men came here after the inmates revolted, we shall get all of them and they would face the full wrath of the law.

“From what I have seen here, the old man who is the owner of this place and who is over 78 years old does not have the capacity and facilities to run this place again.”

One of the inmates, Abubakar Saminu, 16, from Yobe State, said his parents brought him to the centre because he was always stealing.

He said, “My parents brought me here because they believed I would be cured of my stealing problem. But, here, they would beat us, starve us and subject us to inhuman conditions.”

It was learnt that Mallam Maialmajri had already left the running of the centre in the hands of his son, Umar, who reportedly escaped police arrest.

The Emir of Daura, Dr. Umar Farouq, however, told the police Commissioner that the law should be allowed to take its full course.

The Emir who spoke in Hausa said, “We in Daura will not support any act of lawlessness. We want the law to take its full course.”