Sunday , 18 March 2018
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Tag Archives: FG

Nigerian govt pays N11bn to YouWin awardees

Government says it has disbursed over N11 billion to the beneficiaries of the third edition of the YouWiN! programme from 2015 to date.

The Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Salisu Dambatta, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said that out of the amount, N8.52 billion was disbursed by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

According to Mr. Dambatta, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this while releasing the last payment of N125.64 million for disbursement to the final 61 beneficiaries of the third edition.

“By January 2018, the total amount disbursed to beneficiaries of the third edition of the YouWiN! programme will be N11, 121, 031, 260, of which the current administration has disbursed N8, 522, 545,038,” she said.

Mrs. Adeosun said the amount was disbursed to 1, 500 beneficiaries who have started or expanded their business across a variety of sectors, including information and communication technology, manufacturing, services and agricultural production and processing.

She said that other areas covered under the third edition were fashion and entertainment, while various technical supports were extended to over 18, 000 beneficiaries in the areas of access to markets and finance.

She said that the YouWin beneficiaries also had capacity building training in business management, accounting and operations.

On assuming office as the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Adeosun reviewed and restructured the programme to YouWiN! Connect.

YouWiN! Connect is currently providing online capacity building to more than 61,000 beneficiaries across the country.

The next stage of the YouWiN! Connect Programme will involve sector specific in-class training to successful beneficiaries and the development of franchise infrastructure. (NAN)

FG summons US ambassador over Trump’s ‘shithole’ comment

The federal government has summoned Stuart Symington, United States ambassador to Nigeria, over Donald Trump’s usage of a demeaning term to describe African nations.

The US president is reported to have questioned why the US would want to have immigrants from “shithole countries” such as Haiti and African nations.

The comment was reportedly made in the Oval Office.

Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, is scheduled to meet with the US ambassador Monday.

Trump’s remark has drawn widespread criticism from several African countries and also the United Nations. The UN branded it “racist”.

Rupert Coleville, spokesperson for the UN high commissioner for human rights, said: “If confirmed, these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States. There is no other word you can use but ‘racist’.

“You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”

African Union ambassadors to the UN have demanded a retraction of the statement and an apology from the US leader.

“The AU mission condemns the statement in the strongest terms and demands a retraction of the comment as well as an apology to not only the Africans but to all people of African descent across the globe,” the group of over 50 African nations said in a statement.

Ghana, Botswana and South Africa have all summoned US ambassadors in their countries over the matter.

FG approves payment of N26bn owed Discos


The Federal Government on Wednesday approved the payment of N25.994bn being debts owed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies to electricity distribution companies.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, told State House correspondents after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja that since the inception of the incumbent administration, claims of debts owed by government to DISCOS have been a matter of concern, especially in the light of liquidity issues.

Fashola said the government had earlier agreed that it would only pay verified sums after proper verification is done.

He said, “We have concluded the verification and we now ask council to approve the verified sum of N25.994bn owed by MDAs of the Federal Government to be paid to the DISCOS out of the claims of N67.41bn.

“So, there is a differential of about N41bn. That differential arises first because some of the claims do not belong to the Federal Government. Some are owed by states and local governments. Also, some belong to public international organisations and were classified as government debts.

“So, there is more verification going on and undertaking at states and local governments which we have discovered at the National Council on Power about a week ago. This is important so that government can demonstrate its support for the private sector by paying its own debts so that the sector can do what they do well.

“Government has also approved that this amount that has been quantified be set off against the amount owed by the DISCOS to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader, a 100% Federal Government-owned subsidiary company. They also owe government for their unremitted collections for energy they have taken and have not remitted. They are owing government about N500bn.”

Emergency work begins on Lagos roads, bridges

The Federal Government has begun emergency and remedial repair of some major roads and bridges in Lagos State, the Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Mr Godwin Eke, said on Sunday.

Eke told journalists in Lagos that some of the bad roads required urgent attention and that the Federal Government was determined to make all federal roads across the country motorable.

He stated that repair work on some of the roads have been completed while others are still ongoing.

The controller explained that remedial work on both carriageways of Apongbon Bridge undulations had been completed.

According to him, the repair work was completed speedily because the contractors worked at night.

He identified the ongoing emergency repair projects as repairs on Ijora Causeway, Ijora Flyover (East Link), Funsho Williams Avenue, replacement of 1 N (one number) expansion joint on Eko Bridge, Costain Roundabout to Eko Bridge Ramp and Costain to Iganmu Bridge (Orile Bound).

Some others are: Funsho Williams Bridge to Alaka, Carter Bridge Roundabout to LAWMA Junction (Eko Bridge Bound Carriageway), Herbert Macaulay Way (Jibowu Junction to Adekunle Junction) and Outer Marina to Ahmadu Bellow way (From Apongbon Bridge to Bonny Camp).

Also listed are: Falomo Roundabout through Kingsway Road to Osbourne Road, Apapa Road to Western Avenue (Between Iganmu Bridge Ramp and Western Avenue Bridge Ramp (Alaka Bound Carriageway), Apapa Road towards Iganmu Bridge (Orile Bound) which were receiving attention.

Eke said that Ijora Olopa to Ijora7Up (Beside Oloye Nursery and Primary School (Ijora Olopa Bound), Alaka to Apongbon through Eko Bridge (both carriageways) and Onikan Junction through Independent Bridge to Apongbon Bridge (Apongbon Bound) were undergoing repairs.

According to him, the follwing roads – Lagos Island/General Hospital to Apongbon; Onikan/Lagos Island to Apongbon through Apongbon Bridge/CMS (CMS Bound); Eko Bridge Approach to Ijora; Ijora to Apapa Road through underneath Iganmu Flyover (Costain Bound) and the National Theatre Train Station to Costain (Costain Bound) were being worked on.

He said that government was working assiduously to conclude plans for other roads not yet captured.

He, therefore, appealed to Lagos State residents to be patient with the government as repair work would soon reach those roads not captured earlier.

“Due to paucity of funds government cannot repair all the roads at the same time,” he said.

Earlier, the controller had said that the bids for the repair of the Apapa Oshodi/Tin Can Island Road was passing through the procurement process and that government was planning to reconstruct the network of roads on the Apapa/Tin Can Island/Oshodi road corridor to reduce congestion to the barest minimum.

“We will carry out some palliatives as soon as the procurement process is concluded.

“The high water table in Apapa requires proper design and adoption of rigid pavement to ensure longevity of our roads,” Eke said.

We don’t consider IPOB a terrorist organisation – US

The United States Government has said it does not consider the Indigenous People of Biafra a terrorist organisation.

Last week, the Federal High Court in Abuja gave a judicial backing the executive order of President Muhammadu Buhari, outlawing the group and its activities in the country.

The court granted the order to proscribe the group on Wednesday.

It declared that the activities of the group constituted acts of terrorism.

The Federal Government also accused France and the United Kingdom of aiding IPOB activities.

The spokesman for the American Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Brooks, told Sunday Punch on Friday that the US government does not view IPOB as a terrorist group.

He said this in response to our correspondent’s email which asked if the United States sees IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

Brooks stated further that the US was committed to Nigeria’s unity and would support a peaceful resolution of any crisis in the country.

He said, “The United States Government is strongly committed to Nigeria’s unity. Important political and economic issues affecting the Nigerian people, such as the allocation of resources, are worthwhile topics for respectful debate in a democracy.

“Within the context of unity, we encourage all Nigerians to support a de-escalation of tensions and peaceful resolution of grievances. The Indigenous People of Biafra is not a terrorist organisation under US law.”

The US embassy, however, declined to comment on whether the Federal Government had asked it to treat IPOB as a terrorist organisation and to block money sent to IPOB from the US.

Brooks also did not state the US’ position on the agitation for a Biafran state.

Speaking after the court judgment last week, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, said the Federal Government would proceed to gazette the order proscribing the group.

Sunday Punch

ASUU suspends strike, directs lecturers to resume

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has conditionally suspended their five weeks old strike embarked upon to press for the implementation of agreements reached with the government.

It directed its members to return to the classroom with immediately.

President of the Union, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi who addressed a news conference at about 9.30 pm Monday night after another round of meeting with the government delegation led by the Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige, directed all members of the union to return to work after their branch congresses on Tuesday.

He said they decided to conditionally suspend the strike action in view of the timeline of October 2017 for the implementation of the signed agreement.

He said that the union will not hesitate to resume the suspended action if the government renege on the signed agreement which he called Memorandum of Action, adding that the signed agreement was backed by a definite timeline for implementation.

He warned that the government must not deliberately dishonor the agreement, pointing out that the continuous breach of signed agreement has been responsible for the constant strike action in the Universities.

Ogunyemi said that the current agreement with the government is based on mutual trust between the union and the government, adding that the trust of the union must be respected by the government.

The meeting which started about 4.00pm was supposed to last for about one hour, but dragged for about four hours before agreement was reached on All contending issues.

Briefing Journalist earlier after the meeting which ended at about 7.55pm, Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige said all the gray areas have been sorted out and an agreement reached.

He said that members of the union had insisted that they were tired of having agreements that are not implemented; pointing out that the content of the agreement was taken from the series of meeting with the union since the commencement of the strike.

He said further that that both the government and the union understood themselves and agreed in several issues, assuring that the agreement reached will be implemented by the government in line with available resources.

Areas of agreement include funding for revitalization of public universities and the issue of Earn Academic Allowances, the issue of University Staff Schools and the implementation of the judgement of the National Industrial Court, National Universities Pension Management Company and guidelines for pension matters for professors.

He also said that the union agreed to the exemption offered by the government regarding the issue of TSA, which include the issue of grants, endowment fund as well as salary short fall which he said is already being implemented by government.

On the issue of state universities, he said they agreed that the union will submit a position paper to the federal government on their observation with a view for government to advise state government on the funding of state universities.

He describe the union as patriotic members of the society, pointing out that anybody who demand better working equipment is no doubt a patriot.

FG, states’ public debt stock hits N19.6trn – DMO


Nigeria’s public debt stock for both the Federal Government and the states as at June 30 stood at N19.63 trillion, a document by the Debt Management Office (DMO) says.

The document was obtained from the DMO website on Monday in Abuja.

Giving a breakdown of what each tier owed, it said the external debt stock of both tiers was N4.6 trillion while the domestic debt stock of the Federal Government was N12 trillion.

It said the domestic debt of states stood at N3 trillion.

It also said the Federal Government spent N253.3 billion on domestic debt servicing in the second quarter of 2017 (April to June).

Giving a breakdown of each month’s allocation, it said N87 billion was spent on debt servicing in April, N73 billion in May and N75.2 billion in June.

Domestic debt is the amount of money raised by any government denominated in local currency and from its own residents.

It consists of two categories: Bank and Non-Bank borrowing.

Domestic loans are issued through government debt instruments such as Nigerian Treasury Bills, Nigerian Treasury Certificates, Federal Government Development Stocks, Treasury Bonds, Ways and Means Advances.

In another development, the Federal Government offered for subscription two-year savings bond at 13.81 per cent and three-year savings bond at 14.81 per cent.

According to the offer circular derived from the DMO, the two-year bond will be due in September 2019 while the three-year bond will be due in September 2020.

It, however, did not state how much was offered, but added that the maximum subscription was N50 million at N1,000 per unit, subject to minimum subscription of N5,000 and in multiples of N1,000.

The website said that the bond was fully backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government, with quarterly coupon payments to bondholders.

The savings bond issuance is expected to help finance the nation’s budget deficit.

It is to also part of the Federal Government’s programme targeted at the lower income earners to encourage savings and also earn more income (interest), compared to their savings accounts with banks.


Arik Air files N20bn suit against FG, Ethiopian Airlines

Arik Air Limited has filled a N20 billion suit against the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines over recent claims in the media that they were negotiating the takeover of the airline.

The suit was instituted by the airline at the Federal High Court, Lagos against Ethiopian Airlines, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Attorney General of the Federation.

A copy of the suit which was filed on Sept.6 by Arik Air’s counsel, Mr Babajide Koku (SAN), Mr Chukwuemeka Nwigwe and Mrs Ezinne Emedom, was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.

In its statement of claim supported by a 20 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Mr Chris Ndulue, a Director with Arik Air, the plaintiff asked the court to restrain the first and second defendants from further negotiations on its takeover.

The plaintiff noted that the Asset Management Company of Nigeria ( AMCON ) had taken over the airline on Feb. 8 which was challenged by its management via two suits already pending before the Federal High Court, Lagos.

According to the plaintiff, the suits numbers are FHC/L/CS/827/17 and FHC/L/CS/826/17, adding that the negotiations by the defendants will render the outcome of the suits nurgatory.

“The plaintiff avers that the agreement of the second defendant with the first defendant will be wide ranging and intricately affect every aspect of the plaintiff herein, including but not limited to the day to day running technical as well as financial management which will affect the plaintiff as being the largest domestic and regional airline in Nigeria.

“The plaintiff further avers that the action taken by the first and second defendants will have a negative effect on the country’s image as the plaintiff being the largest airline will be pawned over to another country for management,” it said.

The plaintiff also averred that the negotiations had caused undue hardship and irreparable damage to the Arik Air brand and ongoing investment discussions as well as unbearable distress to the airline’s shareholders and directors.

It, therefore, asked the court to declare the negotiations null and void because the Ministry of Transportation had no power to transfer the management of the airline to Ethiopian Airlines while the suits over the takeover are pending.

The plaintiff also asked the court for an order directing the Attorney General of the Federation to ensure the investigation of Ethiopian Airlines by the appropriate authorities for inducing and interfering in the administration of justice in the pending suits.

It added that if found culpable, the airline should be charged to court for criminal contempt contrary to Section 133 (4) and (9) of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State, Cap C17,Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2004.

The plaintiff also asked the court for an order compelling the Inspector General of Police to investigate the actions of the second defendant.

It further asked the court for N20 billion being punitive damages against the first defendant for inducing or partaking in the interference of the rights of the plaintiff and the administration of justice.

NAN reports that the suit is yet to be assigned to any judge and no date has been fixed for hearing.


Pay us, we‘ll suspend strike on Friday – Doctors


The conciliation meeting between the Federal Government Negotiation Team and the striking National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, yielded positive result as the union decided to suspend the nationwide indefinite strike if alert for their salary entered on or before Friday.

The meeting which started about 2:30pm on Wednesday lasted about twelve hours as the communique was ready about 3am Thursday.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige who was the convener of the meeting made frantic efforts to ensure that the Resident Doctors suspended the strike, when doctors insisted that until they received alerts of the unpaid salaries, they would not suspend the strike.

Intermittently the leaders of Resident Doctors stormed out of the venue of the meeting to consult with the members on the position of the government.

Some of the aggrieved members of NARD who preferred to loiter outside instead of remaining inside the conference room where the meeting was taking place threatened to impeach the leadership if they concede to signing any agreement with the Federal Government’s Negotiation team without receiving alerts.

Following prolonged negotiation which remained inconclusive as at 1am, the parties unanimously resolved that the nationwide industrial action should be suspended as soon as the payment alert are received from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) today as promised by the Federal Government’s team.

Some of the aggrieved resident doctors who were mostly in their mid-40s frowned at the attempts by Chris Ngige-led Negotiation Team to coarse them to suspend the strike without any tenable evidence of payment as claimed by the Minister during the opening remarks.
One of the Resident Doctors who shunned all entreaties from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation lamented that he trekked about 1,000 kilometers to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2015 elections.

He said, “Until we receive alerts we are not going to call off the strike. I don’t have any trust in the government. I trekked over 1,000 kilometers during the elections despite the Boko Haram attack in Maiduguri to vote for President Buhari.

“Buhari went to London for treatment and he paid the doctors there but he does not want to pay us. We are not going to call off the strike until we get alerts. In fact, it is the government that is prolonging the strike.

He said that the medical personnel and facilities of various overseas hospitals where most of the public office holders receive treatment were functional and effectively managed by their respective governments.

Another source privy to the negotiation, hinted that there was no payment made by the apex bank on the salary arrears as contained in the six-point demand tabled by the Resident Doctors.

However, some members of the Federal Government’s negotiation team from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation who left the meeting were summoned back by the Minister of Labour and Employment.

Ngige who chaired the meeting, had during the engagement pleaded with the Resident Doctors to make sacrifice in the interest of the country. The Resident Doctors had as the pressure from Ngige for them to call off the strike was too much said they should be given till Saturday so that the alerts would have come but the Minister rejected the proposal saying that Saturday was far.


FG summons S’African envoy, wants Nigerian’s killing probed

The Federal Government has summoned the South African acting High Commissioner, Kenneth Pedro, over allegations that the South African police suffocated a Nigerian, Kingsley Ikeri, to death while he was in custody.

It demanded an investigation into the killing and punishment of the perpetrators.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement late Tuesday by its spokesperson, Ms. Jane Adam, said it summoned Pedro to protest the extrajudicial killing of the 27-year-old said to have died on August 30, 2017 in South Africa’s eastern Kwazulu-Natal province.

Ikeri had been living in the South African town of Vryheid before his demise.

The ministry said the Under-Secretary for Regions and International Organisations, Ifeoma Chinwuba, had expressed Nigeria’s anger at the alleged killing to the South African envoy.

She urged the South African authorities to bring those responsible for the despicable act to justice.

The statement read, “Chinwuba further informed Mr. Pedro that while the Federal Government would not condone illegal or anti-social acts or criminalities, it behoves the South African Government to ensure that every resident accused of any offence is presumed innocent until proven guilty through the judicial process.”

In February, the FG summoned the South Africa’s then ambassador, Lulu Mnguni over a wave of xenophobic attacks that left dozens of shops owned by Nigerians vandalised in Johannesburg and Pretoria.