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Saraki, Dogara give Friday deadline to NASS Management to resolve ussues with staff 

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have directed the National Assembly Management Committee headed by the Clerk, Alhaji Sani Omolori, to resolve all issues raised by protesting members of staff and report back to them by Friday.

In a statement in Abuja, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the President of the Senate, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that at a meeting attended by the National Assembly’s Management and members of staff under the umbrella of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), the Senate President and the Speaker who addressed the meeting on behalf of the leadership of both chambers, stated that it was important for the workers to be well motivated and their demands properly addressed in order to create a conducive atmosphere for the legislature to perform its duties.

The Senate President and Speaker noted that the demands of the workers are part of the responsibilities of the National Assembly’s Management and that the grievances of the workers should not be allowed to linger.

“The leadership of the National Assembly made it clear to the staff that the issues raised by them were previously unknown to the legislators and that even if they were known to the Senate President and the Speaker, the leadership could do little to address them because they fall under the purview of the NASS’s Management. They added that the constitution of the National Assembly Service Commission which the workers demanded will be made before Friday.

“The workers demanded for the implementation of the CONLESS system in the payment of their salaries and allowances, approval of new condition of service for the workers, among other issues. However, Dr. Saraki and Rt. Hon. Dogara, as well as their colleagues also reassured the workers that they will personally supervise how the management will eventually resolve the issues and ensure that the workers are not shortchanged”, Olaniyonu stated.

 

$8.1bn demand: MTN opts for out-of-court settlement with CBN

Telecommunications firm, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, on Tuesday, asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to further adjourn the hearing in the suit it filed to challenge the $8,134,312,397.63 being demanded from it by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The $1.8bn demand by the CBN followed alleged forex remittances infraction by MTN.

On Tuesday, MTN’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), told the court that his client had approached the CBN for possible amicable resolution of the dispute.

He urged Justice Saliu Saidu to further adjourn the suit to enable parties to fully explore out-of-court resolution and deliberate on the terms of the settlement.

The position was confirmed by CBN’s lead counsel, Mr Seyi Sowemimo (SAN), who added that the discussions for possible out-of-court settlement were in the advanced stage.

Consequently, Justice Saidu adjourned till December 12, 2018, for a report of the settlement between the parties.

MTN filed the suit, marked FHC/L/CS/1475/2018, in November, urged the court to the declaration that the CBN acted ultra vires its statutory powers when it wrote an August 28, 2018 letter to it demanding a refund of $8.1bn.

The firm urged the court to hold that the CBN’s $8.1bn demand was “illegal, oppressive, abusive, unauthorised and unconstitutional.”

The telecommunications giant urged the court to declare that that “the 1st defendant’s decision in its letter of August 28, 2018 with Ref No GBD/GOV/COM/DGF/118/121 addressed to the plaintiff and titled, ‘Investigation into the remittance of foreign exchange on the basis of the illegal capital importation certificates issued to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited’ were reached in breach of the plaintiff’s right to fair hearing.”

It also urged the court to void a September 3, 2018 letter written to it by the 2nd defendant, the Attorney General of the Federation, demanding $8.1bn as “penalties for the offence of ‘infraction of forex remittances’.”

MTN sought a court order “restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants from giving effect to the decisions, demands, and directives in their letters of August 28, 2018, and September 3, 2018, respectively.”

However, the CBN, in its statement of defence and counter-claim, urged the court to dismiss MTN’s suit, insisting that the telecommunications giant must refund $8.1bn to the Federal Government.

The dispute over $8.1bn repatriated funds started when the CBN alleged that MTN used improperly issued certificates to transfer funds out of Nigeria after the telecom giant converted shareholder loans in its Nigerian unit to preference shares in 2007, but MTN denied the allegations.

The apex bank said MTN’s banks failed to verify that the telecom group had met all the country’s foreign exchange regulations.

 

Seven year-old, Ryan makes $22m on YouTube – Forbes

 

A seven-year-old boy, Ryan, who is a toy reviewer, is the biggest earner on You Tube, grossing £17.3 million or $22million in a year, Forbes has revealed.

Ryan is the biggest earner on You Tube Ryan of Ryan ToysReview beat famous YouTubers including Jake and Logan Paul and Swedish gamer, PewDiePie to top the list compiled by Forbes.

His channel, which involves him opening toys and then playing with them, has more than 17 million subscribers. The “unboxing” trend, where YouTubers open, describe and review new toys, tech products and games, has become increasingly popular on the video site.

Ryan and his family, including younger twin sisters who first appeared on the channel when they were a few weeks old, also make educational videos on topics including tornadoes and astronauts.

His videos have a total of almost 26 billion views over three years, with the most popular video on his channel seen 1.6 billion times, and the less-watched videos attracting at least 30 million views each.

Ryan, who started making the videos at the age of three, makes money from advertising revenue and also recently launched his own Walmart line of branded merchandise.

His parents do not disclose his last name or the city they live in, and say they will stop making the videos when their son no longer enjoys it. Fifteen per cent of his earnings are put into a bank account to access when he becomes an adult.

The Forbes list includes several users who record themselves playing video games and commentating, another popular format.

The most famous of these, PewDiePie, also known as Felix Kjellberg, earned $15.5m (£12.2m) in the year to June.

This is despite controversy over anti-Semitic videos posted to his channel, which led to him losing a deal with Disney last February, where he previously had his own

Security guard, steals judge’s cellphone in court

An Ilorin Chief Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, ordered that two men, Samson John and Ayodele Oluwagbemiga, be remanded in Federal Prison yard for allegedly stealing of a cellphone belonging to a High Court Judge.

Chief Magistrate Ibijoke Olawoyin, gave the order, after the accused persons were charged with four counts of criminal conspiracy, trespass, house breaking, and theft.

Olawoyin adjourned the case until Dec. 20, for further mention.

Earlier, the Prosecutor, Insp Alhassan Jibrin told the court that on Nov. 22, one Sgt. Usman Olayinka attached to High Court Judge in Basin area, Ilorin, reported the case at the Area Command office of the police in Ilorin.

Jibrin said that the complainant, alleged that the accused who is a security guard in the judge’s house, and one other, broke into the judge’s house and stole one Samsung Galaxy phone, valued at N300,000, some jewelries valued yet unknown and the sum of N10,000.

The prosecutor said that the police followed the accused to his home town in Otupa, Benue and arrested him for interrogation.

Jibrin said that during police investigation, the accused  confessed in his statement that he used the security room toilet key to open the main door and gained entrance into the judge’s room, and stole the items.

He said that the accused also confessed to have sold the Samsung Galaxy phone for N10,000 to one Micheal at Asoka village, Benue, who is now at-large, and sold the jewelries at the rate of N7,000 to the second accused person at Fakeye street, Basin, Ilorin.

The prosecutor said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 97, 348, 288 and 317 of the penal code law.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the offence.

Legislative aides take over NASS, turn back lawmakers over unpaid allowances

The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) on Tuesday protested the non-payment of their outstanding salaries and allowances.

The protesters are insisting that the lawmakers will not hold their usual sittings until they are paid their entitlements.

The members of the national assembly that had arrived for sitting before the protest began were forced to either retire to their offices or leave the premises while others were turned back at the main entrance.

At the weekend, the workers threatened to picket the premises of the national assembly if the management does nothing to address their grievances.

Subsequently, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, national assembly clerk, asked them to shelve their protest. He said their concerns are being addressed.

But the workers came out in their numbers and took over the lobby from which the lower and upper legislative chambers could be accessed.

They held banners and placards which read: ‘Omolori must go now’, ‘Pass our conditions of service now’ and ‘Probe NASS MGT Now’, among others.

One of the workers who spoke to journalists, but did not give his name, said some of them could not feed their families.

“They don’t want to give us our right. He (Sani-Omolori) said promotion is a privilege in the letter that he wrote yesterday,” he said.

“Number two, he said the CONLESS that has been passed since 2010 that we have no right to assess it because the budget is not flowing, that there is no budget allocation and this is a place were budget is appropriated.

“And Omolori, our clerk of the national assembly, said we have no right to assess our promotion, that there is no vacancy.

“The staff of the national assembly are suffering. We can’t pay school fees, we can pay house rent, we can’t even transport ourselves to this place.”

It’s unclear if the lawmakers will sit because the aggrieved workers are preventing them from going into both chambers.

Omolori is yet to address the protesters.

Police arraign ‘Small Doctor’ for unlawful possession of firearms

The Police have arraigned musician Adekunle Temitope, aka Small Doctor, for unlawful possession of firearms.

A credible source at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, said the popular artiste was arraigned before an Ebute Meta Magistrate’s court on Tuesday.

Another source at the court confirmed the development.

The suspect was paraded at the Police command headquarters at Ikeja after he was arrested around Oshodi on Monday.

He was alleged to have threatened to open fire on a Police officer before he was arrested.

The state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, said Small Doctor had, in the past, fired shots and injured four people.

He noted that the injured persons were admitted to a hospital and vowed that the artiste would be made to face the law.

Small Doctor recently created a controversy after singing at an event of the All Progressives Congress.

He had sung one of his hit tracks, ‘Ye ma sun (stop sleeping), which many said was targeted at the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

But the singer’s manager denied the claim.

The Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, as of 2.30pm, said Small Doctor’s arraignment for unlawful possession of firearms and threatening violence was ongoing.

 

 

Mbaka threatens Buhari: You’ll go nowhere if you remain ungrateful

Rev Fr Ejike Mbaka, spiritual director of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), says Buhari will go no where if he remains ungrateful to the ministry.

In a video clip, trending on the social media, Mbaka accused the president of abandoning the ministry despite the support and the prophecy about his victory in 2015.

He said he was almost killed for supporting Buhari, adding that even now, his attackers are waiting to see if he would declare support for Buhari again.

Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state, represented Buhari at the ministry’s 2018 harvest and bazaar celebration on Sunday.

“We were chased away because of Buhari… No one person has been employed by Buhari after Fr. Mbaka almost died for his sake,” he said.

“Supporting Buhari is almost becoming a curse, we will not tell you that we will not support him, even if not for the sake of his good wife. She has been sending some little charity… for his (Buhari’s ) sake, I was almost assassinated because we stood for him.

“APC was down till the prophecy came up that Buhari was going to be the president. After that, we were forgotten…
If you know what this ministry is going through because we are supporting Buhari, the attackers are waiting to hear me say that I will support him again attack; and Buhari will remain in Aso Rock, being somebody who cannot give money, what does that mean?

“ I want to remind you that if Buhari will remain ungrateful to this ministry he is going no where…
“One thing that is holding him (Buhari) is spiritual, how many times has he almost died? And he should not take it for granted that he is healthy.

“Anything can happen and his health can collapse. Atiku is waiting for him somewhere and the only thing that can stop Atiku is spiritual. You people should go and come back, you people should not take us for granted, I am speaking with spiritual mandate.

“Even if you don’t want to do something for us, look at the poor masses that almost die for you people, not even a job was given to anybody.”

Mbaka had also tackled Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi, his running mate, for “refusing to donate to his church”.

Here is the video of Mbaka speaking about Buhari:

video) Mbaka threatens Buhari: You’ll go nowhere if you remain ungrateful (video) December 04 13:11 2018 ?by TheCable  0 Comments Facebook53TwitterTelegramCopy LinkWhatsAppMore Advertisement Ejike Mbaka, spiritual director of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), says Buhari will go no where if he remains ungrateful to the ministry. In a video clip, trending on the social media, Mbaka accused the president of abandoning the ministry despite the support and the prophecy about his victory in 2015. He said he was almost killed for supporting Buhari, adding that even now, his attackers are waiting to see if he would declare support for Buhari again. Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state, represented Buhari at the ministry’s 2018 harvest and bazaar celebration on Sunday. “We were chased away because of Buhari… No one person has been employed by Buhari after Fr. Mbaka almost died for his sake,” he said. “Supporting Buhari is almost becoming a curse, we will not tell you that we will not support him, even if not for the sake of his good wife. She has been sending some little charity… for his (Buhari’s ) sake, I was almost assassinated because we stood for him. “APC was down till the prophecy came up that Buhari was going to be the president. After that, we were forgotten… If you know what this ministry is going through because we are supporting Buhari, the attackers are waiting to hear me say that I will support him again attack; and Buhari will remain in Aso Rock, being somebody who cannot give money, what does that mean? “ I want to remind you that if Buhari will remain ungrateful to this ministry he is going no where… “One thing that is holding him (Buhari) is spiritual, how many times has he almost died? And he should not take it for granted that he is healthy. “Anything can happen and his health can collapse. Atiku is waiting for him somewhere and the only thing that can stop Atiku is spiritual. You people should go and come back, you people should not take us for granted, I am speaking with spiritual mandate. “Even if you don’t want to do something for us, look at the poor masses that almost die for you people, not even a job was given to anybody.” Mbaka had also tackled Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi, his running mate, for “refusing to donate to his church”. Here is the video of Mbaka speaking about Buhari:

Buhari support groups endorse Atiku

Fifty-nine groups working for the reelction President Muhammadu Buhari have endorsed former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

Atiku, who is presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is Buhari’s main rival in the election.

At a press conference in Abuja, the groups explained that they decided to back the PDP candidate because the current administration “has failed”.

Yusuf Ardo, national coordinator of the Grassroots Mobilisers for Buhari (GMB), accused the Buhari government of failing to appoint youth.

He said the group has over five million members and that GMB toured the length and breadth of Nigeria for Buhari in 2015.

“We toured the country and campaigned for the emergence of the current APC led federal government. This forum coordinated all support groups for APC and championed Grassroots Mobilizations of Nigerians,” he said.

“Sequel to the foregoing, we are sad, that the government we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people; we cannot continue to reinforce failures.

“How can we have a federal cabinet without a single youth? A government that does not take the youths into account is a dying government; the future belongs to us, the young people.

“Today, our country is faced with legions of challenges, our economy that was the fastest-growing in Africa has gone comatose under the present government that has shown unprepared and completely clueless.

“Unemployment has risen to an alarming level, instead of creating three million jobs per year as promised during 2015 campaigns; millions of jobs are being lost quarterly, with many companies folding up.”

Jargo said he believed under Atiku, the economy will be revived unlike the “misfortune” of Buhari.

“We strongly believe that Atiku will ensure diversification of the economy through Agriculture, adequate supply of power, massive industrialization, thereby creating employment for our teaming youths,” he said.

“Our predicament and future of the youth in Nigeria is highly threatened, that is why we have resolved one hundred percent (100%) to support His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, GCON, come 2019 for our large interest in this country.”

When contacted, Festus Keyamo, spokesman of the reelection campaign of Buhari, said: “They are not genuine pro-Buhari groups. They are mercenaries looking for what to eat.”

‘Nigeria may be up for sale’ — Oyedepo misinterprets satire on Jubril from Sudan (video)

Bishop David Oyedepo, founder of Living Faith Church worldwide, says it is possible that Nigeria is being recolonised by another African nation.

The preacher said this while commenting on the rumors that President Muhammadu Buhari is dead.

In a video currently trending on social media, Oyedepo quoted article written by Olatunde Dare, a columnist of the Nation Newspaper, saying Buhari could have died when he sought medical treatment in London and that someone cloned as him is currently presiding over Nigeria.

Referring to the piece, Oyedepo said the Nigerian government entered an agreement with the family of one Jubril in Sudan to give them a replacement for Buhari and that the resources of the nation is now being shared with Sudan.

Known for satire, Dare, in the piece Oyedepo quoted, had taunted those propagating the rumor that Buhari had died.

Dare jocularly said representatives of the Jubril family showed up in Abuja and threatened to spill the beans if the federal government did not meet their demands.

The preacher said the federal government had refused to issue a statement, debunking what Dare wrote, fueling speculations that it could be true.

In Poland on Sunday, Buhari told some Nigerians based in the European nation that his opponents were behind the rumors of his death.

Below is the video where Oyedepo spoke:

One Lagos Fiesta to draw two million participants – Ayorinde

At least two million direct participants and 90 million viewers worldwide are expected to take part in this year’s edition of the flagship Yuletide end-of-the-year revue of the Lagos State Government, One Lagos Fiesta (OLF) holding from the eve of December 24, 2018 till the wee hours of January 1, 2019.

The State’s Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Steve Ayorinde who said this while addressing a press conference on Monday at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Ikeja to formally announce activities for this year’s show, said necessary arrangements have been firmed up to ensure another hugely successful outing.

Ayorinde, who briefed the media alongside senior officials of the State Government, some a-list artists billed to perform and representatives of sponsors, said the OLF would hold in five locations simultaneously across the State in line with the tradition adopted in the last four years, adding that it was gratifying that the event had become the biggest end-of-the-year entertainment brand in Africa as it provides an unparallel platform for residents and visitors, both old and young, to relax and enjoy themselves in a secured environment.

“The One Lagos Fiesta draws parallel with other international cross over events in the world especially in the countdown night of December 31, and with the unique features associated with the fiesta, it is anticipated to attract over 2million direct participants across the State and over 90million viewers via live television and live streaming on social media,” Ayorinde said.“As a Government, we are encouraged by the noticeable achievements recorded as a result of hosting this event and we are taking advantage of this year’s edition to fete millions of Lagosians who have supported this initiative running for the 4th consecutive year.

He said considering the strategic position of Lagos as the economic and socio-cultural hub of Africa with vibrant expression of art, it had always been the tradition of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to use such instrument as springboard to drive development and market the State’s potentials to domestic and foreign investors who would, in turn, contribute meaningfully towards making Lagos Africa’s model megacity.

Tagged ‘A December to Remember,’ the Commissioner said there would be live music concert, which will feature trending DJs and MCs and performances by popular Nigerian artistes and musicians running from 6.00p.m till 12 midnight across the five venues in Agege (Agege Stadium), Victoria Island (Bar Beach/Eko Atlantic City), Badagry (Badagry Grammar School), Epe (Epe Marina Waterfront) and Ikorodu (in Ikorodu Town Hall).

Other festivities, according to him, are kiddies corner, which would run from 12.00p.m to 6.00p.m with various activities like bouncing Castle, Rodeo Bull, Carrousels, among others, as well as cultural performances, stage plays and talent hunt, otherwise known as Lagos Grows Talent, a grassroots’ competition which provides a platform for youths to compete using their talents in the areas of music, dance, comedy and other creative activities.

Ayorinde also announced the introduction of a raffle draw as part of this year’s fiesta for the purpose of winning a brand new saloon car, courtesy of one of the partners, CIG Motors.

Giving details, he said: “The competition is open to only residents of Lagos State who are up to 18 years of age and are in possession of a valid Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC). Every individual that resides in Lagos and wishes to participate is a potential winner of the vehicle.

“Entries will open on Thursday, 6th December and close on Wednesday, 26thDecember 2018, and entries will be submitted strictly online through the OLF website, while the winner is expected to emerge through a raffle draw which will be conducted on the 31st December, 2018 at Eko Atlantic City venue. There are other consolation prizes to be won.”

While thanking all the sponsors for supporting the vision of the present administration to scale up the entertainment and tourism potentials of the State via the OLF platform, Ayorinde also encouraged Lagosians and visitors to take advantage of the fiesta to experience and savour the attractions it brings whilst enjoying the fun that is available in all the venues, just as he assured that adequate measures have been put in place for security, traffic management, sanitation and health concerns to ensure safety of lives and property throughout the course of the fiesta.

Some of the a-list artistes expected to perform at this year’s OLF include Olamide, Teni, Slimcase, Mr Real, Humblesmith, Blackky, Mr P, Dr. Adewale Ayuba, Saheed Osupa, among many others.

Vote Atiku so we can all have food to eat, says Jonathan

Former president Goodluck Jonathan says only the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) can feed Nigerians three times a day.

Jonathan asked Nigerians to vote Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate in 2019, “so that all of us will have food to eat”.

Speaking at the flag-off of the 2019 presidential election campaign by the PDP, Jonathan said the northwest is the most populous part of Nigeria, and it is the region’s time to show Nigeria the way.

“We have seen four presidents, from Obasanjo to our late brother, Yar’Adua, to myself, and to the current president. You have seen how the various presidents and the various parties have worked, and one thing that is very clear is that PDP is still the number one party,” Jonathan said.

“There is something that all of us need as human beings, everybody eats, everybody, every day must eat, and if you cannot eat well, then you are not happy.

“PDP is the only party that can make sure all of us eat very well, in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening”.

He told the mammoth crowd that they should endeavor not to vote wrong, else their children and grandchildren will not forgive them.

“Let us not make any mistakes, those of us that are adults, old enough to vote, if we vote wrongly, our children and grandchildren will not forgive us,” he added.

“Today, our country has a lot of challenges; look at all the presidential candidates, all of them are good people, but among all, we have seen that it is only Atiku that can deliver.

“If you have a soccer match, you go with your best 11, you don’t manage, if you have a wrestling or a boxing tournament, you go with your best, you don’t manage.

“Atiku is experienced enough; he has demonstrated clearly from his personal life and his business life that he has that capacity to bring this country to one, and make our economy grow, so that all of us will have food to eat.”

CBN may add more to the 41 items not eligible for forex

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may increase the number of items not eligible for forex from 41 items to include many others products being produced in Nigeria.

Godwin Emefiele made this revelation at the weekend while addressing the 53rd Annual Bankers Dinner in Lagos.

He said the bank, based on internal research, has received a recommendation to do so, following a drop of the country’s monthly import bill from $665.4 million in January 2015, to $160.4 million as at October 2018.

“Based on our internal research conducted at the Central Bank of Nigeria, there is strong support that the recovery of our economy from the recession may have been much weaker or even negative, without the implementation of the restriction on 41 items,” Emefiele said.

“Our research supports the conclusion that the combination of the restriction on 41 items along with other measures imposed by the fiscal and monetary authorities has helped to promote the recovery.

“In fact, recommendations are being made to the CBN that the list of 41 items be expanded to include other additional items that can be locally produced.”

Emefiele said Nigeria must not lose the progress already made in driving local production, across the nation.

“We are glad with the accomplishments recorded so far. Accordingly, this policy is expected to continue with vigour until the underlying imbalances within the Nigerian economy have been fully resolved,” Emefiele added.

“If we continue to support the growth of smallholder farmers, as well as help to revive palm oil refineries, rice mills, cassava, and tomato processing factories, you can only imagine the amount of wealth and jobs that will be created in the country.”

He said the CBN is working with the EFCC to track anyone who is selling foreign exchange for items listed as not eligible for forex.

THE 41 ITEMS ARE:

Rice

Cement

Margarine

Palm kernel/Palm oil products/vegetables oils

Meat and processed meat products

Vegetables and processed vegetable products

Poultry chicken, eggs, turkey

Private airplanes/jets

Indian incense

Tinned fish in sauce(Geisha)/sardines

Cold rolled steel sheets

Galvanized steel sheets

Roofing sheets

Wheelbarrows

Head pans

Metal boxes and containers

Enamelware

Steel drums

Steel pipes

Wire rods(deformed and not deformed)

Iron rods and reinforcing bard

Wire mesh

Steel nails

Security and razor wine

Wood particle boards and panels

Wood Fibre Boards and Panels

Plywood boards and panels

Wooden doors

Toothpicks

Glass and Glassware

Kitchen utensils

Tableware

Tiles-vitrified and ceramic

Textiles

Woven fabrics

Clothes

Plastic and rubber products, polypropylene granules, cellophane wrappers

Soap and cosmetics

Tomatoes/tomato pastes

Eurobond/foreign currency bond/ share purchases

Anchors borrowers’ prog has created 2.5m jobs – Emefiele

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, says the bank’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) has created 2.5 million jobs across the country.

ABP is an agricultural programme which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, and “intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and smallholder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities”.

He said the programme has been effective in correcting Nigeria’s imbalances, and suspending the bank’s policy suite will spell doom for Nigeria.

“The CBN recently introduced the Real Sector Support fund; a facility meant to provide cheap funding at no more than 9 percent to new projects in the Agric and Manufacturing sectors; aimed at boosting output and creating jobs,” Emefiele said this at the Annual Bankers dinner at the weekend.

“In the agriculture sector, the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) has ensured that Nigeria emerged from being a net importer of rice to becoming a major producer of rice, supplying key markets in neighboring countries.

“As at October 2018, a total number of 862,069 farmers cultivating about 835,239 hectares, across 16 different commodities, have so far benefited from the Anchor Borrowers programme, which has generated 2,502,675 jobs across the country.”

Emefiele assured that the ABP will be used for the production of other farm produce within the country, including palm oil and fisheries.

“It is in light of the success of the Anchor Borrowers Program with regards to cultivation of rice and maize that the Monetary Policy Committee in its last meeting on the 21st of November 2018 recommended that the Anchor Borrowers program be applied to other areas such as palm oil, tomatoes, and fisheries to mention a few,” Emefiele added.

“Our efforts at supporting small-scale farmers and SMEs is based on our awareness of the critical role they can play in supporting our economic recovery and growth, as well as in creating job opportunities for millions of Nigerians.”

Court grants EFCC permission to prosecute Diezani

A federal capital territory (FCT) high court, Apo, has granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) leave to arraign Diezani Alison-Madueke,  former petroleum minister, and Olajide Omokore, a former chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling company, on February 25.

Alison-Madueke and Omokore are to be arraigned on five counts bordering on conspiracy and illegal act of accepting and giving gratifications.

The trial judge, Valentine Ashi, granted the EFCC leave, after the prosecution counsel, Faruk Abdullahi, told the court that while investigations were ongoing, the former minister left the country and is currently in the UK.

Ashi also ordered the EFCC to put its house in order.

The suspects are to be arraigned for allegedly accepting and giving a gift of properties described as penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and penthouse 21, building 5, block C, Banana Island, Lagos.

The EFCC said the alleged offence contravened the provisions of sections 26(1) and 17 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The prosecutor, Faruk Abdullahi, told the court that while investigations were ongoing, the former minister left the country and is currently in the United Kingdom.

He also said that upon invitation by the EFCC, Alison-Madueke refused to honour the invitation. He said there is a process in place to ensure she comes back to face trial.

The counsel to the second defendant, Tayo Adeniyo, told the court that his client was not served with the charges and his client was ready to clear his name.

On November 11, the EFCC confirmed that the process to bring back Alison-Madueke from the United Kingdom had begun.

Alison-Madueke, who is being investigated in the UK, had urged the federal government to have her repatriated to Nigeria to face corruption charges against her.

Buhari breaks silence on ‘Jubril’ rumours

President Muhammadu Buhari has broken his silence on the allegation that he had died and one Jubril from Sudan had been impersonating him.

The rumor first surfaced when the president returned to the country after spending three months in the UK, treating an undisclosed ailment.

Supporters of the president had dismissed it, attributing it to propaganda and it eventually died down.

But the issue resurfaced in the buildup to the 2019 elections.

Speaking in Poland where he is attending a climate change summit, the president told some Nigerians living in the European nation that he would soon celebrate his 76th birthday.

“A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health. Somebody just thought I am cloned, … it is real me I can assure you. This is the real me… I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong,” Bashir Ahmad, personal assistant to the president, quoted Buhari to have said.

This is the first time that Buhari would speak on the controversial issue.

Earlier in the week, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, said it was idiotic to conceive such thought.

“It is idiotic to say the President is cloned. I don’t see any serious government responding to that.

“So, the same Jubril that was cloned from Sudan or Chad is in Chad now? Isn’t that stupid?” he had asked at a press conference in Abuja.

“They even said he is from Chad. Yet, the same President is in Chad as we speak. The same Jibrin is remembering what the President did while in Petroleum Trust Fund and he is also remembering what he did when he was head of state between 1983 and 1985.

“All the ministers do not know who is before them when they attend the federal executive council meeting? The President remembers memos he had seen or heard about in 1985 and we say he is cloned.

“So, Jubril from Chad or Sudan will now remember all of these? It is too silly for the government to respond to this. It must be ignored.”

Lagos is not in bondage, Sanwo-Olu replies Agbaje

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said Lagosians are free citizens and not in bondage in what seemed to be an overt response to the campaign theme of his opponent.

Sanwo-Olu stated this on Sunday at the Palace of the Akran of Badagry Aholu De Wheno Menu Toyi 1 during a consultative visit to the traditional rulers in the Badagry division.

In a direct response to the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mr. Jimi Agbaje, who said Lagosians were in bondage, Sanwo-Olu said Lagosians had not been enslaved under the APC-led government, noting that the state had achieved accelerated prosperity since 1999 due to the tenacity and purposefulness of the ruling party.

Highlighting the numerous infrastructural needs of the Badagry division, the APC standard-bearer promised to speedily address some of the listed concerns of the people.

“Some have started talking about freedom and insinuated that Lagos is in bondage. Unfortunately, we cannot begin to talk about freedom in the 21st century. This is insulting to humanity and the people of Lagos especially because slavery and bondage were abolished in Badagry several decades ago. When they talk about freedom, we ask them freedom from what? We have had our freedom and everyone in Lagos is free. We have since moved away from the era of slavery, to era of prosperity with deep-seated aspiration for greater Lagos.

“We are aware of the challenges facing the people of Badagry on the rehabilitation of the expressway and we are promising that our administration would immediately hit the ground running and ensure the completion of that important road immediately we assume office by your votes.”

Sanwo-Olu reminded the royal fathers of the economic importance of tourism to the GDP of the state, maintaining that he would ensure a speedy completion of all projects that will improve the quality of lives of the people.

“It is no brainer that once we fix infrastructure, it will automatically jump-start development in the area. That’s why it has become expedient for us to look critically into this before we can even think of other things. I am promising you today that Badagry will assume her pride of place in tourism if you give us your votes,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The team stopped at the Palace of the Onijanikin of Ijanikin land, Oba Mohammed Ashafa who praised Sanwo-Olu for his punctuality, saying the candidate’s sense of timeliness spoke of his character as a man of honour. Speaking on behalf of the royal fathers in Aworiland, the Oniba of Ibaland endorsed the candidacy of Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat

ASUU Strike: FG orders universities to implement ‘no work, no pay’

The Federal Government of Nigeria has directed vice-chancellors of striking public universities across the country to enforce “no-work-no-pay” rule on the striking lecturers.

The directive to implement the “no work, no pay” policy was communicated to the universities in a memo sent by the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to university vice-chancellors.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had on November 4 declared indefinite, nationwide strike over non-implementation of previous agreements by the federal government and demand for increased university funding.

At least two meetings have been held between the lecturers and the government since the strike commenced. However, both parties are yet to reach an agreement.

In the memo signed by NUC Director of Research, Information and Technology S.B Ramon-Yusuf, the university regulator stated that payment of salaries from any other sources but government funding will be viewed as violation of extant rules and government directive.

The memo reads, “In view of the current Industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the federal government has directed that there shall be no payment of any form of salaries and allowances to the staff on strike in federal and inter-varsity centers.

“Consequently, I am to direct Vice-Chancellors to apply the “No-work-no-pay” rule. However, Universities and inter-varsity centers are to pay salaries and allowances to Non-teaching staff.

“All Vice Chancellors and Directors of centers should note that the salaries to staff on strike from whatever source of funds shall be viewed as violation of extant rules and directive of the federal government of Nigeria.”

In a reaction to the memo, the Chairman of University of Ibadan chapter of ASUU, Deji Omole, described the federal government as shameless for owing lecturers seven years of unpaid, earned academic allowances. He said despite the debt, the government still wants lecturers to continue to work while the presidency and the National Assembly ‘feed fat’ on the wealth of the nation.

Mr Omole in a statement on Friday evening said it is sad that a government that prides itself as having integrity has shown it lacks integrity by failing to honour agreements reached with the union. He said the government has resulted to harassment and intimidation of ASUU members on a patriotic struggle to save public education in Nigeria.

He said the “no work, no pay” directive will not deter the lecturers.

“We have passed this road before. It is a familiar terrain which we can navigate with our eyes closed.

“We shall triumph any attempt to destroy the common patrimony. The power of the people is stronger than the people in power, ” the lecturer said.

Diamond Bank drops international operating licence

The Central Bank of Nigeria has granted Diamond Bank a national operating licence.

Uzoma Dozie, the bank’s chief executive officer, confirmed the development in a statement released on Friday.

The statement, which was signed by Ezechinyere Anyanwu, the bank’s head of media, said the move is part of its strategy to focus on the opportunities present in Nigeria.

“With this approval, the bank will cease to operate as an international bank,” Dozie said.

“The re-licensing as a national bank supports Diamond Bank’s objective of streamlining its operations to focus resources on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian retail banking market, and the economy as a whole.

“The move follows Diamond Bank’s decision to sell its international operations, which included the disposal of its West African Subsidiary in 2017 and Diamond Bank UK, the sale of which is currently in its final stages.

“The change to national bank status also enables the bank to maintain a lower minimum capital requirement of 10 per cent, as against 15 per cent required for international banks.

“The reduction in minimum capital requirement also increases our capacity to expand the quantum of business and product services we can offer consumers.

“This development does not affect the bank’s ability to offer services to its clients in international locations.

”Rather, with focus on its domestic business being priority, the bank also intends to pay down in full, the Eurobond loan of $200m at maturity in May 2019.”

PDP to kick off 2019 campaign in Sokoto, asks Nigerians to reject APC

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has announced that its campaign for 2019 elections will kick off in Sokoto state on Monday.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, director-general of the party’s campaign council, said this at the inaugural press briefing of the council.

The PDP inaugurated the council, made up of 153 members, on Thursday.

Saraki raised 10 questions, saying if Nigerians cannot give positive answers to them, they should vote out the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.

The questions ranged across economy, security, employment and the rule of law.

He said: “ISSUES: For Nigerians, in 2019, the issues that have to be addressed are:

“Is the economy better or worse? Are more people richer or poorer than they were in 2015? c) Are there more people suffering from hunger now than in 2015? Have there been more job losses now than in 2015? Are our people safer now than they were in 2015?

“Are our military and other security agencies better equipped or motivated to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency and other security challenges than in 2015? Is the country more united now than it was in 2015? Is the infrastructure in the country better than it was in 2015?

“Is there less corruption in the country than in 2015? Is the fight against been fair to all or a tool deployed against political opponents? Are people deriving the benefits of the Rule of Law and personal liberty as enshrined in the constitution now than in 2015?”

These are some of the issues that will determine the trend of the campaign and we believe they should guide Nigerians in making their decisions during the 2019 elections. An election is a referendum on the incumbent.

“If Nigerians are unable to answer any of these questions positively, they must vote out the incumbent.”

Buhari: I am a descendant of Abraham — just like Bishop Crowther

President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a swipe at those accusing him of attempting to Islamise Nigeria, describing himself as “a descendant of Abraham just like Bishop Crowther”.

Crowther was the first Anglican bishop in Nigeria. A linguist, he translated the Bible from English to Yoruba.

In an article published by UK-based Christian Times, Buhari referred to the accusation as “nonsense”.

The president said he believes that there is far more that unites Muslims and Christians in the country than what divides them.

“I stand accused — paradoxically — of trying to Islamise Nigeria while also being accused by Boko Haram terrorists of being against Islam. My Vice-President is a devout man, a Christian pastor. He, too, is accused of selling out his religion, because of his support for me,” he said.

“Fortunately, the facts speak differently from the words of those who seek to divide us from one another. I believe that the messages of the Bible are universal: available for anyone to exercise, and instructive to all.

“Like Bishop Crowther, I am a descendant of Abraham; unlike him, I am a Muslim. I believe our two great religions can not only peacefully coexist but also flourish together. But Muslims and Christians must first turn to one another in compassion. For, as it says in Amos 3.3: “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet.”

He said Nigerians must resist the temptation to retreat into their respective communities because “it is only when we mix that we can reach new and greater possibilities.”

He highlighted the efforts of his government to secure the government.

“Since my administration has been in power, Boko Haram has been significantly and fatally degraded; I have befriended church leaders and church groups both within and outside our country; my Vice-President has addressed and opened dialogue with Muslims up and down our land,” he wrote.

“In all things, we seek that which all well-meaning Christians and well-meaning Muslims must seek: to unite, respect, and never to divide.”