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Full text of Obasanjo’s open letter to Buhari

I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria. Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem. The contents of this letter, therefore, should be available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions for the problem of insecurity in the land.

One of the spinoffs and accelerants is the misinformation and disinformation through the use of fake news. A number of articles, in recent days, have been attributed to me by some people who I believe may be seeking added credence and an attentive audience for their opinions and viewpoints. As you know very well, I will always boldly own what I say and disown what is put into my mouth. But the issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria. This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove.

The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay. Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned. When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

For over ten years, for four of which you have been the captain of the ship, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land and in spite of government’s claim of victory over Boko Haram, the potency and the activities of Boko Haram, where they are active, remain undiminished, putting lie to government’s claim. The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself. Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimised, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage. And Boko Haram will not go away on the basis of sticks alone, carrots must overweigh sticks. How else do you deal with issues such as only about 50% literacy in North-East with over 70% unemployment?

Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times. Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.

The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets. As a result, very onerous cloud is gathering. And rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome. Nothing should be taken for granted, the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country. The Presidency and the Congress in the US have signalled to us to put our house in order. The House of Lords in the UK had debated the Nigerian security situation. We must understand and appreciate the significance, implication and likely consequences of such concerns and deliberations.

No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence. It will continue to snowball until it is out of control. A stitch in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.

With the death of Funke, Chief Fasoranti’s daughter, some sympathetic Nigerian groups are saying “enough is enough”. Prof. Anya, a distinguished Nigerian merit Laureate, has this to say “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”. Niger-Delta leaders, South-Eastern leaders, Middle-Belt leaders and Northern Elders Forum have not remained quiet. Different ordinary Nigerians at home and abroad are calling for different measures to address or ameliorate the situation. All the calls and cries can only continue to be ignored at the expense of Nigerian unity, if not its continued existence.

To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:

1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;

2. spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.

3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;

4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.

It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone. In my part of the world, if you are sharpening your cutlass and a mad man comes from behind to take the cutlass from you, you need other people’s assistance to have your cutlass back without being harmed. The mad men with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security. The need for assistance to regain control is obviously compelling and must be embraced now.

A couple of weeks ago at a public lecture, I had said, among other things, that:

“In all these issues of mobilisation for national unity, stability, security, cooperation, development, growth and progress, there is no consensus. Like in the issue of security, government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels and the outcome of such deliberations should be collated to form inputs into a national conference to come up with the solution that will effectively deal with the issues and lead to rapid development, growth and progress which will give us a wholesome society and enhanced living standard and livelihood in an inclusive and shared society. It will be a national programme. We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government. It must be owned by the citizens, people’s policy and strategy implemented by the government no matter its colour and leaning.

Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”

The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help. If there is failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else. We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military – to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together. Blame game among own forces must be avoided. It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful.

For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians, I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour. May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening. As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing”.

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

July 15, 2019

Released by

Kehinde Akinyemi

Special Assistant Media.

Soyinka says Buhari can’t handle Nigeria’s problems

Prof Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, says the problems confronting Nigeria are beyond President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Soyinka spoke when he played host to some students who paid him a visit on his 85th birthday.

The literary icon said while state governments differ in success rates, “central government has failed”.

He called on the federal government to shun partisanship and focus on delivering good governance to the Nigerian populace.

He suggested that a national conference be called where a debate on the situation of the country will be discussed.

“The problems of this nation are beyond the solution that can be offered by this government, that’s the first admission; they have to stop thinking in partisan government,” Soyinka said.

“There has always been a major problem with successive governments. It’s easier on the state level to say that a particular state is definitely doing better than another state. But the central government has failed, that’s my view in the main.

“There is a minimal level which any government which has been elected to power must achieve to be considered a true representative of the people.

“Look at what’s happening today with the cattle all over the place, that’s a security issue which should never have reached this level. That singular act has resulted in hundreds of people being killed, farms were taken over; it has wiped away a lot of the positive achievements of the government.

“They need to confront this nation as a habitation of human beings where very serious issues like economy, security, health, even threats of secession come up every day and convoke at the same time, a national conference, what I call an Indaba across all section which we will all meet and debate everything, including the economy of this nation.”

Obasanjo writes another letter to Buhari…says Nigeria endangered

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has written yet another letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

This comes more than a year after the letter he wrote to the president generated so much uproar. He had criticised Buhari, asking him not to seek another term.

In the new letter dated July 15, Obasanjo said he is very worried over the high level of insecurity in the country.

He called on the president to take decisive action to prevent the situation from escalating into a full-blown crisis.

“I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay. Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned,” he wrote.

“When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

“To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities: abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type.

“Spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened. Similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom; Violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.”

Appeal Court dismisses suit challenging Buhari’s academic qualification to run for President

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed an appeal challenging the academic qualification of President Muhammadu Buhari to contest the last presidential election.

A three-man panel of the court led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson in a unanimous judgment affirmed the earlier verdict of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had dismissed the suit on the grounds that it was statute-barred and robbed the court of jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Delivering the judgment of the Court of Appeal on Friday, Justice Mohammed Idris, held that matter had become statute barred, having not been filed within the 14 days the cause of action arose as stipulated under section 285(9) of the Nigerian Constitution.

He held that the cause of action arose on October 18 2018, when Buhari submitted his Form CF001, curriculum vitae and a supporting affidavit to the Independent National Electoral Commission after he emerged as the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate in the party’s earlier primary election.

He noted that the appellants challenging the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court only filed their suit before the said lower court on November 5, 2018, which was outside the 14 days period from October 18, 2018.

The appeal was filed by three Nigerians – Kalu Kalu Agu, Labaran Ismail, Hassy Jyari El-Kunis.

FG cancels all foreign printing contracts for Nigerian passports

President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled all e-passport printing contracts abroad, saying that it will now be the sole responsibility of the Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company (NSPMC).

Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, made this known in a statement released on Thursday.

This new directive means all existing contracts concerning printing passports and other documents will not be renewed.

The Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company (NSPMC), popularly known as The Mint, was established in 1963 and was saddled with the responsibility of printing the nation’s currency and security documents for ministries, departments and agencies of government, banks and other blue-chip companies.

At inception, the Mint was the largest banknote and security documents specialist printing company in West Africa until its performance dwindled.

After his appointment as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele set new targets for the company including zero importation of currency which has been achieved since 2014.

Speaking on the company, Abbas Umar Masanawa, the managing director, said: “The Mint has returned to profitability. From a moribund organization with heavy losses, the company grew from a loss position of N14.6 million in 2014 to a profit of N14.3 billion in 2018. Turnover also grew from N17.8 billion in 2014 to N61.4 billion in 2018.

“Other achievements include enhanced production capacity, revenue diversification, reduced cost of production, the institutionalization of corporate governance, improved staff welfare and industrial harmony, among others.

“We will conserve scarce foreign exchange, improve revenue generation, create job opportunities, and boost acquisition/transfer of technology.”

Buhari finally signs Africa free trade deal

President Muhammad Buhari has finally signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

AfCFTA is a trade agreement between AU member states with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single-currency union.

The president signed it at the 12th extraordinary session of the assembly of the union on AfCFTA and the first mid-year coordination meeting of the African Union (AU) and the regional economic communities (RECs) in Niamey, Niger Republic.

The president signed the agreement at exactly 10:48am, making Nigeria the 53rd country on the continent to append its signature to the document.

Buhari had said he delayed signing the agreement “to give room for extensive consultations with stakeholders”.

He had set up a committee to assess impact of Nigeria joining the free trade area. In June, the committee submitted its report to the president, recommending that Nigeria sign the treaty.

Twenty four countries have already ratified the AfCFTA which is expected to be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization. It has a potential market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across all 55 member states of the AU.

The extraordinary session of the assembly of the union also launched the operational instruments of the agreement establishing AfCFTA.

The instruments are AfCFTA rules of origin, tariff concession portals, portal on monitoring and elimination of non-tariff barriers, digital payments and clearing systems and African Trade and Observatory Dashboard.

Buhari signed the deal one week after members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed to launch ECO, proposed single currency in the region.

The heads of the 15-member countries reached this decision at the 55th ordinary session of ECOWAS in Abuja.

 

AFCON 2019: Buhari congratulates Eagles, asks team to stay focused after beating Cameroon

President Muhammadu Buhari was elated on Saturday, following the Super Eagles victory over the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the ongoing African Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt.

He congratulated the team on the 3-2 win over the lions, saying that it was “delightful.”

Nigeria edged Cameroon out of the AFCON in one of the Round of 16 games played in Alexandria on Saturday.

Buhari’s congratulatory message was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

The President urged the Eagles and their handlers to remain focused as they progressed in the championship, saying that they still had some hurdles to overcome ahead.

The Presidency stated, “President Muhammadu Buhari congratulates the Super Eagles of Nigeria for making progress in the African Cup of Nations Egypt 2019, after a delightful win over Cameroonian football team.

Cameroon’s player react to their loss during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match against Nigeria

“President Buhari recognises the hard work, team spirit and sportsmanship the boys have exhibited in the tournament, which are good signs for a team destined to excel.

“With yet more hurdles to scale before lifting the diadem, the President urges the team and their handlers to remain focused and determined, assuring them of the fervent prayers and support of all Nigerians.”

Buhari makes fresh appointments

President Muhammadu Buhari has announced 13 fresh appointees in his new cabinet.

Among the appointees are 12 close aides; most of whom were re-appointed.

A statement from the state house said the appointments took effect from May 29 when the president began his second term.

Below are the names of the appointees:

S/N NAME POSITION
1 Abba Kyari President’s Chief of Staff
2 Boss Mustapha Secretary to the Government of the Federation
3 Mohammed Sarki Abba Senior Special Assistant to the President (Household and Social Events)
4 Ya’u Shehu Darazo Senior Special Assistant to the President (Special Duties)
5 Suhayb Sanusi Rafindadi Personal Physician to the President
6 Lawal A. Kazaure State Chief of Protocol
7 Sabiu Yusuf Special Assistant (Office of the President)
8 Saley Yuguda Special Assistant (House Keeping)
9 Ahmed Muhammed Mayo Special Assistant (Finance & Administration)
10 Mohammed Hamisu Sani Special Assistant (Special Duties)
11 Friday Bethel Personal Assistant (General Duties)
12 Sunday Aghaeze Personal Assistant (State Photographer)
13 Bayo Omoboriowo Personal Assistant (Presidential Photographer)

 

JUST IN: Buhari suspends Ruga settlement projects – Report

Following public outcry and the seeming misconception about the Ruga Settlement Projects, an idea designed to stem the tide of herdsmen/farmers clashes across the country, President Muhammadu Buhari is said to have suspended the idea pending further notice, ThisDay is reporting.

The president, after consultations with stakeholders, has resolved to put away the idea for a thorough review and well acceptable approach to the menace constituted to national security by the constant clashes between herdsmen and farmers, the report said.

A presidency source that hinted at this development, said the announcement would be made any moment from now with detailed explanations, going forward.

Details later…

AFCON 2019: Buhari shocked over Super Eagles unpaid allowances, protest —Lalong

President Muhammadu Buhari was said to have been shocked by reports that allowances were owed the Super Eagles for their first two matches against Burundi and Guinea at the ongoing African Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt.

Plateau State Governor, Mr Simon Lalong, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja after he met with Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

Lalong stated that the President was alarmed that the players were owed their entitlements in spite of the fact that approvals were made for the payment of the allowances.

The players had protested at their Helnan Palestine Hotel in Egypt, though the Nigerian Football Federation had said Buhari approved the payment.

Lalong was on the government delegation that visited Egypt to watch the Super Eagles games against Burundi and Guinea.

READ ALSO: Court orders forfeiture of Patience Jonathan’s N9.2bn, $8.4m

However, the team played Madagascar on Sunday and lost by 2-0.

Madagascar team is one of the minnows in the competition, qualifying for the finals for the first time.

Speaking with reporters, the governor stated, “I came to see the President on behalf of my state and on behalf of the 19 northern states as the Chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum.

“I came in to have a discussion with Mr President. Of course, many of you know that I just came back from Egypt where we went to cheer our Super Eagles. I also brought him the concerns of our players over there and he promised to handle the matter immediately.

“This is because football is a unifying factor in Nigeria and we should not joke with it. If they bring back the cup, it will cement our relationship and that is one of it.”

APC confirms Doguwa as Reps Leader
On Buhari’s reaction to the players’ protest over unpaid allowances, Lalong said, “Well, many of the concerns raised were that their allowances were not paid and Mr President expressed surprise because he signed these allowances and wondered why they were not paid to them.

“I was a footballer. It is not like before when you played football out of patriotism, now it is combined with the economic aspect.

“When you bring people, definitely from the ministry, you must ensure that their allowances are paid. We went there for the joy of it and the day we were there they won their match but when we left yesterday, I understand they lost to Madagascar.

“Defeating Guinea and allowing Madagascar to defeat us is a surprise, but I think with good motivation, these boys would bring back the cup.”

Buhari held hostage as infighting rocks APC leaders – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says there is infighting within the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the presidency.

In a statement on Saturday, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP spokesman, alleged that the infighting is about positions.

Ologbondiyan described the APC as a sanctuary of “power mongers and looters.”

“The bitter fighting and hostilities in the presidency is as a result of the confusion that had enveloped the APC and the Buhari Presidency over the brazen stealing of the presidential mandate that Nigerians freely gave to the PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar in the February 23, presidential election,” he said.

“The vicious fight for positions as ‘booty’ of a stolen mandate further exposes the APC and the cabal in the Buhari Presidency as power mongers who are only interested in power grabbing, treasury looting and plundering of our national patrimony and not in the welfare of Nigerians.

“Nigerians watched as a faction within the power-grabbing APC, in a loud protest in our nation’s seat of power, Abuja, earlier in the week, listed the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Mr. President’s cousin, Mamman Daura and his long-standing friend, Isa Funtua as members of the said cabal that have appropriated the Presidency and held President Buhari hostage.

“In a counter-protest, the supporters of the cabal had also accused a prominent APC governor of a north-west state and his ‘brother’, who is a prominent former minister and former governor of a south-south state, as those fanning the embers of discord in the presidential villa to achieve their desperate ambition for power in 2023.”

The PDP spokesman said the alleged infighting is a confirmation of Buhari’s “incompetence and leadership failure.”

“The harsh reality is that, with the situation at hand, there is no hope in sight for our nation under the APC and the Buhari presidency,” he said.

“Nevertheless, while the PDP stands with millions of Nigerians in the determination to retrieve our stolen mandate at the appropriate judicial panels, our party finds it ludicrous that in the face of herculean challenges confronting us as a nation, the concern of the APC and Buhari Presidency is the sharing of ill-gotten electoral booty.”

Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, has not commented on the claims as at of the time of filing this report.

Buhari is a civilian autocrat, says Adebanjo

Chief Ayo Adebanjo, a leader of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-political organisation, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is a civilian autocrat disguising under the guise of a democrat.

In an interview with Tribune, the elder statesman said the power Buhari enjoys is preventing him from changing the constitution to suit the current demands of the country.

He also said Buhari has not been active in solving the several problems ravaging the country.

“We have no democracy now, particularly with Buhari in government. He is the greatest civilian autocrat under the guise of being a democrat,” he said.

“I am Ayo Adebanjo. Everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion. What I am saying is that Buhari is the greatest civilian autocrat. Why? I am judging him by his actions. Will a democrat, in a democratic society, disobey court orders on two, three, four individuals? Will a democrat, under the rule of law, invade judges’ quarters under the pretence that he wants to wipe out corruption? These are my reasons I don’t just label him. I call him a dictator by his actions and let people tell me that those actions are consistent with democratic principles. That’s all.

“Unfortunately, the so-called governors from the South-West, who are in alliance with him, are so sheepish. Their hands are so dirty that they cannot talk to him. It is because their hands are so dirty that is why they don’t have the courage to stand up to him.”

The Afenifere leader alleged that more deaths have been recorded under the leadership of Buhari than the civil war which occurred between 1967 and 1970.

He said Buhari having contributed to the insecurity in the country, he has “turned a blind eye” to the “incompetence” of service chiefs in the country.

“We don’t hate him, but he does not understand the job he has taken upon himself,” he said.

“These are issues in the country which he (Buhari) has not even said a word about on Democracy Day. We don’t know what Nigerians have done to make us deserve a man like Buhari. The number of people that have been killed under him is more than the number killed during the civil war and yet, the man still has the effrontery to be telling us the security is alright.”

He called on the federal government to restructure the country immediately, adding that there is no other solution to the numerous challenges in the country than restructuring.

 

 

Buhari approves N208bn for upgrade of varsities

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N208 billion for the upgrade of federal universities.

The president made this known at the 23rd convocation of the University of Abuja on Saturday.

Represented by Sonny Echono, permanent secretary of the education ministry, Buhari said Nigeria could overcome its challenges by developing its human capital.

He said his administration would continue to address the concerns of the tertiary institutions.

“The present administration will continue to improve on the infrastructural facilities in the universities, promote teacher development and curriculum review,” Buhari said.

“It is in furtherance of this that I recently approved the disbursement of N208bn to public tertiary institutions under the 2019 intervention of the TETFUND.

“The ability of Nigeria with its huge population to overcome its present challenges of development no longer depends on petroleum resources but on the ability of the country to develop its human capital.

“The government will continue to look into the issues raised by the universities.”

The president added that the government would “monitor the universities closely”.

Buhari vows to punish lawyers, bankers, others facilitating corrupt practices

President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will ensure effective asset declaration by public office holders and ensure sanctions by professional bodies against lawyers, bankers, brokers, public officials, and other individuals facilitating corrupt practices.

The president gave this assurance while speaking at the National Democracy Day Anti-Corruption Summit in Abuja on Tuesday.

Buhari said the government would also close existing legislative loopholes, facilitate collaboration with the judiciary, and strengthen the criminal justice system for effective fight against corruption in the country.

While ensuring comprehensive support and protection to whistleblowers, witnesses and victims of corruption, the president said his administration would adopt and formulate the policy of ‘naming and shaming’ all those who engage in corrupt practices.

He, however, maintained that the Federal Government would continue to encourage and honour transparent and honest citizens.

The president said the government would, “educate, mobilise and encourage Nigerians at the grassroots level to take ownership of the fight against corruption;

“Press for a crackdown on safe havens for corrupt assets, abolishing of bank secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens on the continent and beyond.’’

Buhari said that his administration would continue to insist on the unconditional return of looted assets kept abroad and further strengthening of international cooperation through information and mutual legal assistance.

He pledged that government would also continue to strengthen the capacity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other anti-corruption agencies by providing additional material, organisational and logistical support.

“Now, as this administration commences, we are taking stock of progress made so far in the war against corruption, assessing what needs to be done and devising new strategies to address existing challenges,’’ he said.

According to the president, his administration remains committed to the fulfillment of its promises to Nigerians which included security, economic improvement and fight against corruption.

The Guest Speaker at the event and former Director of Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission, Prof. Patrice Lumumba, lauded Nigeria’s strategies in fighting corruption, as he described the Nigeria’s EFCC as the best anti-corruption agency across the African continent.

He said: “In 2015, President Buhari said ‘if we don’t kill corruption in this country, corruption will kill Nigeria’ and I can’t agree with him more; and it is not only true about Nigeria but true about Africa.

“Almost every country in Africa has an agency that is charged with the fight against corruption but the EFCC stands out as the best in the continent because they have demonstrated by wide and deep that corruption can be tackled without sacred cows.

“We have seen that they have recovered monies from individuals who in other countries they are seen as sacred cows and are untouchable.’’

Earlier in his remarks, Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, narrated the achievements of the commission in the last four years.

According to him, the commission has achieved a lot in the fight against corruption, saying that the commission has so far secured 1,207 convictions.

“The convictions secured by the commission since the beginning of this administration reflects a positive progression.

“In 2015, we secured 103 convictions; in 2016 we secured 194; in 2017 we secured 189; in 2018 it was 312 convictions and from January 2019 to date, we have 406 convictions.

“Despite these records, corruption remains a challenge in our country. I believe that the fight against corruption requires a deeper stakeholder approach. The private and public sectors are critical players in this regard,” he said.

While thanking President Buhari for support and non-interference to the affairs of the commission, Magu also commended some state governments for establishing institutional mechanisms to fight corruption.

The one-day summit later went into a plenary session, where papers were presented by renowned stakeholders and scholars on how to curb electoral violence and embezzlement of public funds.

Kagame to Buhari: It’s not enough to fight corruption… we have to create wealth

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, has told President Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders, that it is not enough to fight corruption — but to also add value to human life.

Speaking at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) summit in Abuja on Tuesday, Kagame congratulated Buhari on his victory at the poll and said Nigeria must share resources equitably, so everyone can join the fight against corruption.

He also called on the president and other attendees to add value, create wealth, while fighting corruption, and not merely to fight corruption.

“There is one of your own [Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala], who wrote a book, titled, fighting corruption is dangerous; so she gave me the book, and as I was looking at the title, I reminded her and said you need to be thinking of writing another book to state that not fighting corruption is even more dangerous.

“This is a fight that can be won; tolerating corruption is a choice, not an inevitability. It is within our power to end it. That is the most important starting point, otherwise, it will be a waste of time to keep talking about it.

“Corruptions does not take decades to eradicate once we decide to break the habit.

“We have to set our sights high, it is not enough to fight corruption just as merely fighting poverty, it is too small an ambition for Africa. We want to create value, we want to create wealth, not merely fighting corruption.”

Kagame said Buhari is AU anti-corruption champion, appreciating the president for his drive against corruption.

“President Buhari, I wish to give you our very warm congratulations on your re-election and best wishes for the entire Nigerian people, on the road ahead,” Kagame said.

“I also want to mention here, that President Buhari is AU (African Union) champion in the fight against corruption, and we thank you.”

Kagame said corruption must be fought from top to bottom, using four key principles: “culture, responsibility, accountability and effectiveness”.

“We must discard the myth that corruption is endemic to particular cultures. corruption is a universal weakness, not an African one, and it is not part of our destiny as a continent.

He said research has shown that “the biggest sources and beneficiaries of corruptions are outside of Africa”.

Buhari accepts Onnoghen’s resignation

President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the resignation of Walter Onnoghen, suspended chief justice of Nigeria.

Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday night.

“President Buhari has accepted the voluntary retirement from service of Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria, effective from May 28, 2019,” the statement read.

“The president thanked Justice Onnoghen for his service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and wished him the best of retirement life.”

In April, Onnoghen had tendered his resignation a day after the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended that he be compulsorily retired for misconduct.

His associates had said that Onnoghen chose the option of resignation as a damage control.

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had filed false assets declaration charges against the former justice at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Onnoghen was accused of operating foreign accounts which he failed to declare as part of his assets.

He was convicted at the CCT and barred from holding public office for 10 years while the monies in those accounts were confiscated.

But Onnoghen had challenged the verdict of the tribunal at the appeal court. The appellate court, which is yet to deliver its final judgement, had said the CCT breached Onnoghen’s right to fair hearing when it asked Buhari to suspend him.

Before the commencement of his CCT trial, the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI), a civil society group, launched a legal move to remove Onnoghen.

Less than 24 hours after the report, the CCB announced that it had received a petition written against the then CJN. But for the crisis, Onnoghen, who is 68, was due for retirement in 2020.

He was sworn into office on March 7, 2017.

JUST IN: Buhari dissolves eighth NASS, issues proclamation for ninth Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday pronounced the dissolution of the eighth session of the National Assembly and announced the proclamation of the ninth session of the federal parliament billed to commence on Tuesday, June 11th.

The Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani Omolori, confirmed this while addressing journalists in his office on Thursday.

He said, “I want to confirm that I have received proclamation from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The first is on the dissolution of the eight National Assembly, while the other one is on the convening of the first session of the ninth National Assembly.

“The proclamation of the dissolution of the eight National Assembly takes effect from 12 midnight of 8th June.

“By implication, from 8th of June by 12 midnight, the eight National Assembly stands dissolved.

“Similarly, the Ninth National Assembly will be inaugurated and first sitting will be held on Tuesday 11th of June by 10:00 a.m. in the National Assembly complex

Speakership: Gbaja is Buhari’s project — not Tinubu’s, says el-Rufai

Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, says Femi Gbajabiamila, majority leader of the house of representatives, is President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice for the speakership of the lower legislative chamber of the national assembly.

El-Rufai made this known while receiving elected members of the house of reps at government house, Kaduna, on Friday.

The governor said it is a misconception to say Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is the one paving the way for Gbajabiamila.

The majority leader, who represents Surulere federal constituency of Lagos, is an ally of Tinubu.

“It’s a misconception that Gbajabiamila is Asiwaju’s project. It was President Buhari himself that has always observed Femi in the house,” he said.

“Even before he became president, he read newspapers and watched television and he followed Gbajabiamila, his dedication and contributions on the floor and he said this time around I want Femi.

“I’m sure Asiwaju is happy but this is not his project, he is not the one that zeroed in on him. The president told me himself and when I asked him that I heard this story about Gbajabiamila and he told me his reasons.

“At governor’s forum, people raised voices but I told them that as governors, we sometimes impose, I am not a hypocrite. So I say to them, don’t let us condemn the president for picking people he feels comfortable working with.

“I don’t care who the president wants to work with but in my state, I am very interested. So, I told the president he has to be involved in this project and I said if he allows, me I’ll talk to people and get involved and I demand to get you involved too.”

El-Rufai said having made up his mind to support the president, he discovered his first barrier was Idris Wase, a Plateau rep, who was also interested in being speaker.

“The first obstacle I have to face was that Wase is the biggest threat, so I reached out to him and took him to the president,” he said.

“The president told him he has already decided on Femi and he gave his reasons. Wase replied though he was sure he has a big chance of winning but as his elder and president, the president’s request is done.

“I reached out to my fellow governors and I’m talking to Bago as well and by the grace of God, by 11th there won’t be any contest. We will do our best.

“I have also told my elected colleagues in Kaduna state that this is Buhari’s state, and we will do 100 per cent what he wants.

“We supported Femi in 2015, only one person did not vote for Femi and my members suffered for their party loyalty in 2015 by not getting anything tangible in the house despite some of them being very ranking.

He, however, urged Gbajabiamila and Wase not to be drawn into ethno-religeous controversy, saying, “Please do not allow people to draw you into religion or ethnic controversy”.

Reps ask Buhari to rescind executive order retrieving all gun licences

The House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to rescind an executive order mopping up guns with private individuals.

The lower legislative chamber made the call on Thursday after adopting a motion seeking to revoke the “executive order to remove, revoke and banish all firearms certificates and licences throughout the federation”.

It said mopping up the guns would expose citizens to dangers and deny them self defense.

Nnenna Ukeje from Abia state, who sponsored the motion, said Buhari recently signed the executive order that is to take effect on June 1, 2019.

According to Ukeje, while there is need for gun control, withdrawing legal guns would mean “only illegal guns will be in circulation and only criminals will own guns.”

“One would have thought that government position will be to domesticate international conventions that have proven around the world to be effective in curbing proliferation small arms and light weapons,” she said.

Most of the lawmakers also agreed with Ukeje’s submission as they argued there should be clear provisions for getting a gun licence rather than retrieving all the ones granted.

Alexander Adekola from Ekiti state said the executive order will make Nigerians vulnerable to attack.

“This executive order is to make everybody in Nigeria vulnerable. Are they saying people use them to kidnap or kill? No. It is the kidnappers and armed robbers that are using it without licence,” he said.

Simon Arabo from Kaduna state argued that “you cannot use an executive order to override a lawfully acquired weapon.”

According to him, “if most of the weapons are being used illegally, it is for the security to go and tackle that. Not for people who have theirs legally. I think that executive order if it has been signed, should be overwritten.”

Mojeed Alabi from Osun state, however, supported mopping up the guns on the ground that the police “has no clear criteria for issuing a gun licence” in Nigeria “except you want to give them money.”

“So people take guns without any procedure visible to all of us. If the police do not have a full regulations guiding ownership or acquisition of guns, then I will advise they be withdrawn,” he said.

“The procedure is wrong and because of that, the president is right to say they withdraw it. Let them come up with regulations.”

The lawmakers subsequently voted against the order and urged the president to withdraw it.

Kalu presents Maduro’s letter to Buhari

Former Governor of Abia State and Founder, Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation (OUKF), Dr. Orji Kalu, presented a letter from President Nicholas Maduro of Venezuela to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja on Monday.

Kalu, last week, visited Maduro and some opposition leaders in Venezuela as part of the efforts of the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation global peace initiative.