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Adamawa monarch advises Buhari to ignore ‘empty barrel’ elite opposed to his reelection

Lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu  Barkindo has asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to listen to some “empty barrel Nigerian elite” opposed to his re-election bid.

Speaking when he hosted the president at his palace on Tuesday, the monarch said Buhari has achieved a lot and should proceed to seek for a second term.

“I am calling you to remain focus, stand firm and don’t listen to the empty barrel Nigerian elite who are calling you not to contest 2019 presidential election,” he said.

“They are burying their heads in shame and telling people that Buhari’s led government has done nothing.”

Barkindo said the elite had forgotten that Buhari implemented the treasury single account which has helped save  trillions of naira.

He listed some of the visible achievements of Buhari to include security, economy and fight against corruption.

Barkindo appealed to the federal government to look into the Chochi water and rice irrigation project which he said had been abandoned for over 20 years.

The monarch appealed to the president to intervene and reconsider the upgrading of Moddibo Adama University of Technology, Yola into full pledge conventional university with schools of management, information technology, health, among others.

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and former military President Ibrahim Babangida are among those who have asked Buhari to leave office at the end of his first term.

Admit you have failed — Okogie hits Buhari

Former archbishop of the Catholic Church in Lagos, Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie has asked the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to “admit that it has failed”.

The vocal cleric made this statement six weeks after he advised Buhari to “respect himself and retire”.

Lamenting the high rate of insecurity and the level of unemployment, the fiery priest said the president should dedicate efforts towards finding a lasting solution rather than focusing on his re-election.

Okogie also wondered why Buhari was more interested in resolving the crisis within the All Progressives Congress (APC) and not the problems being faced by Nigerians.

“The truth is: Nigerians are not happy; Nigerians are hungry and angry. They are not happy because their lives and their belongings are not safe.  They work so hard while the value of the money they earn cannot make them enjoy basic things of life,” he said in a statement.

“Nigerians are unhappy because the economy has been so mismanaged that some cannot pay the school fees of their children. Nigerians are unhappy because they have not got jobs. Nigerians are unhappy because, instead of hope, they are offered propaganda and insults by the president’s men. Nigerians are angry because their loved ones are butchered by herdsmen while the response of government is woeful.

“The issue at hand is more serious than getting re-elected.  It cannot be resolved by way of a facile intra-party reconciliation.  Before it can succeed, this government must admit it has failed.  Before it can retrace its steps, this government must admit that it has strayed from the path of keeping the promises it made, promises that made Nigerians to vote as they did in 2015.

“Apart from seeking intra-party reconciliation, this government must first reconcile with Nigerians by treating them with respect.”

He added that the criticisms of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida must not be dismissed.

The elder statesmen had asked Buhari to forget about the 2019 election.

Going historical, Okogie said the late football commentator, Ernest Okonkwo, was fond of using an Igbo proverb while giving a minute-by-minute description of football matches on the radio.

“Anytime there was an infringement that escaped the attention of the referee, he would ask his colleagues, Sebastian Ofurum or Tolu Fatoyinbo, if they too saw the infringement.  If they confirmed what he saw, he would say in Igbo, ‘What two persons have seen and confirmed to be a boa must not be mistaken for a piece of diamond,’” Okogie said.

“One may apply that maxim to the situation in our country right now. There is anger in the land.  Many voices are echoing it. These voices of anger are so deafening that it can no longer be denied.  The level of discontent in Nigeria at this point in time is like the proverbial boa sighted by even more than two persons.  It would be unwise to mistake it for a piece of diamond.

“It has been sighted by retired Generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, who have spoken of the anger in the land in clear and unmistaken terms.  It has been sighted by traditional rulers, who have called the attention of government to it.  It has been sighted by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria when the bishops went to the corridors of power to speak to power in the way Biblical prophets directly confronted kings in Israel.

“This can no longer be treated as the cry of wailers. Even leading members of the party ruling at the centre have demonstrated commendable candour by openly acknowledging that the hopes of 2015 have been shattered by the disappointment of 2019.”

Quoting the late Raggae legend, Bob Marley, as saying ‘your worst enemy could be your best friend, and your best friend your worst enemy,’ Okogie said, “But presidential aides in our country do not seem to grasp the wisdom in those words.”

“By their own reckoning, anyone who raises doubts as to the rightness of government policies, actions and statements is an enemy of government.  He or she is ridiculed as speaking because there is no more access to ill-gotten wealth,” he said.

“A police officer, appointed to his office, demonstrated unspeakable insolence on television, calling an elected state governor a ‘drowning man.’  In other climes, he would lose his job. In Nigeria, he keeps it.”

He did not also spare Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, who taunted the Catholic bishops who visited Buhari recently.

The bishops had told the president that some Nigerians were not happy with him and that his goodwill was being depleted by “glaring failures”.

Responding to their statement a few days later, Bello jocularly said the unhappy ones are those who could no longer steal money which they use to pay tithe.

But Okogie lambasted the governor, saying he is known for being “notorious”.

“The bishops did the same thing a few days ago, calling the attention of the president to the anger and disappointment in the land. At the end of their friendly exchange with the president, some of his aides and friends resorted to name calling and gratuitous accusations,” he said.

“Anyone who has a faint idea of how the Catholic Church is run would know that the Catholic Church does not run on tithes. It has never taught that God’s blessings depend on tithes. No Catholic bishop in this country has a private jet.  Not even the Pope has one.

“But an uninformed state governor, notorious for being insolent, described the bishop’s intervention as the wailing of religious leaders who no longer have access to tithes because of this government’s anti-corruption fight.

“True friends tell each other the truth.  There cannot be sincere friendship where there is no truth.  Those who are telling our president the truth are his true friends.  Those who are shielding him from the truth, while insulting those who tell him the truth, are his real enemies.

“By insulting well-meaning Nigerians who happen to disagree with policies of government, they are not winning friends for the president.  They are in fact helping to grow the rank and file of the angry.  Whoever loves this President would want him to succeed.  Whoever wants him to succeed must tell him the truth.  For if he fails, Nigeria fails.”

All unclaimed looted assets will be sold – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said all unclaimed looted assets including landed properties recovered by the federal government would be sold and the proceeds deposited into government treasury.

The president made this known when he addressed members of Daura Emirate coalition who paid him a condolence visit at his country home, Daura, Katsina State.

President Buhari noted that many suspected looters of government resources had been denying ownership of their ill-gotten properties and assets across the country.

He stated that he was not surprised by the increasing number of those denying ownership or disclaiming the properties traced to them by the various anti-corruption agencies.

“Some years back, one of my schoolmates in the primary school who worked at a cottage company before his demise predicted that we will come to a situation when looters will deny their loots in Nigeria.

“So as a civil servant, you have 10 houses in Abuja and even in Kaduna and abroad, the more you show them the properties the more they will swear that it does not belong to them.

“And we are still following the process, you know democracy you have to follow due process and respect the rule of law.

“If you are following you will hear that some of these looters were arrested, and for those who deny their loots, then instead of what happened before, this time around we will sell those stolen properties and the proceeds will be deposited in government treasury,’’

“If the money is in the government treasury I will see who will come back after we left and reclaim them,’’ he said.

The president pledged that government would ensure availability of fertilizer and other farm inputs to farmers to sustain the successes recorded by the farmers in the previous farming seasons.

He said: “Please tell Nigerians that we are trying our best, and I thank God, the rainy season is blossom, we will try to add more money to farmers, and ensure the availability of fertilizer and other farm inputs.

“We will also continue to reconstruct roads and railways and provide electricity and we promise we will continue to do so.’’

The leader of the coalition, Muhammed Sale, told the President that they were in his resident to condole with him over the death of his two relatives.

(NAN)

Buhari couldn’t read two pages of book in a year – Junaid Mohammed

Junaid Mohammed, a second republic lawmaker, says President Muhammadu Buhari has a dangerous attitude of not reading.

The former lawmaker, who is Buhari’s ally, said the president was unable to finish two pages of a book he recommended to him in 2015.

He said he recommended the book to the president because it had to do with economic matters.

But that the president took the book, wrote GMB (short for General Muhammadu Buhari) “and that was all”.

“I suggested the idea of a think tank to Buhari and he agreed and he put together a think tank with quite a number of formidable brains and started meeting in 2015 until I stopped coming,” he said in an interview with Vanguard.

“I suggested a number of books for all of us to read and those books were procured.

“One of the books I recommended to Buhari personally, because it has to do with economic matters especially in dealing with the World Bank and the IMF group, was a book written by a Nobel prize laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz.

“Buhari took the book and opened it, just wrote GMB on it and that was all. Over a year later when I came I found that Buhari had not read two pages out of that book.”

Mohammed described this as a “very dangerous leadership position”.

He said unlike Buhari, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida read and listen, and also “go out of their way to get people to come and advise them”.

“Both of them read. I am scared of a leader who does not read and who does not look for experts and I don’t believe any leader no matter how distinguished, who claims and believes that only his own people have all the knowledge in every subject matter in the world; this is a very dangerous attribute Buhari has,” he said.

‘THE CURRENT ANTI-GRAFT WAR IS A FRAUD’

The former lawmaker alleged that the current administration is not sincere about its fight against corruption.

According to him, “the so-called anti-graft war is a fraud meant to persecute only those in opposition who stole money.”

He said the war is being carried out in a way “to protect and defend some others to loot the treasury and go free.”

“You can see that while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is pursuing those in the opposition who looted the treasury before the 2015 election, some top officials in the present government who have stolen money are either not arrested and detained or at best investigated,” he said.

Buhari is best for Nigeria — Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said with President Muhammadu Buhari piloting the affairs of Nigeria, the country is in very safe and competent hands, hence there is no cause for alarm.

The Minister said this at a mini town hall meeting with the staff of the Nigerian Embassy in Madrid, Spain, and a cross-section of Nigerians living in the European country on Saturday.

He said contrary to the fake news being peddled on the Social Media, Nigeria is making steady progress, especially in revamping the economy, tackling insecurity and fighting corruption – the three cardinal programmes of the Buhari Administration.

”Don’t believe everything you read on the Social Media. Nigeria is neither at war nor in crisis,” Mr. Mohammed said, according to a statement by his special assistant, Segun Adeyemi.

”Contrary to what you may be reading on the Internet, the Buhari Administration is putting Nigeria on a solid footing, after the years that were eaten by the locust.”

He said naysayers are spending millions of Naira to distort the true situation of things in Nigeria and to make the administration look bad.

The Minister said the administration’s achievements should be evaluated against the background of the tough challenges that it has faced since coming into office on 29 May 2015.

”It is said that if you don’t know where you are coming from, you won’t know where you are going,” he said, listing the drastic fall in the price of crude oil, the low foreign reserves at $24 billion, the fact that the federal government was borrowing to pay workers’ salaries, and the fact that many states were unable to pay salaries as some of those challenges.

Mr. Mohammed also said when the Administration came into office, unpaid pensions had run into billions of Naira in many states, contractors had abandoned sites across the country because they were being heavily owed, infrastructure was in poor state, power generation was 2,690 megawatts, billions were being paid as ‘fuel subsidies’ to fat cats, corruption was the order of the day, while 20 of the 27 local governments in Borno were under the firm control of Boko Haram.

”Today, the trend is being reversed, and the results are showing: Foreign reserves is now $42.8b, the highest level in four years, inflation has fallen for 12 consecutive months to 15.13%, 108 billion Naira has been saved from removal of maintenance fees payable to banks
before Treasury Single Account (TSA), the nation is being saved 24.7 billion Naira monthly with the full implementation of the TSA and the elimination of ghost workers has saved the nation 120 billion Naira.

”With improved macro-economic conditions, capital inflow is on the upswing, reaching $1.8 billion in the second quarter of 2017, which is almost double the $908 million in the first quarter, Nigeria’s stock market is one of the best-performing in the world, delivering returns in excess of 40 percent, Nigeria jumped 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, and earned a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in the world,” he said.

The Minister also told the meeting that the Administration’s agricultural revolution is moving Nigeria close to self-sufficiency in many staples, especially rice, that the home-grown school feeding programme has created jobs for 61,352 cooks, and it is providing 6.4 million school children in 33,981 schools across 20 states with one meal a day, that power generation has increased to 7,000 megawatts, that Boko Haram has been massively degraded and that the administration’s is embarking on a massive infrastructural renewal.

Mr. Mohammed, who urged the Nigerians to download the FGN-iAPP in order to get authentic news from Nigeria, later fielded questions from the Nigerians, with many of them seeking to know when Nigerians in the diaspora will be able to vote, how they can access the national identity card, how they can get authentic information from Nigeria and what the federal government is doing to end the herder-farmer clashes.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, Susan Aderonke Folarin, led the staff of the embassy to the town hall meeting, which was held at the embassy premises.

2019: Tinubu meets Buhari, speaks on APC crisis, Obasanjo, IBB’s letters

Leader of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said that his recent appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to reconcile all warring groups in the party is a great honour.

The ex-Lagos governor also spoke on the recent letters to President Muhammadu Buhari by two former Nigerian leaders.

Mr. Tinubu was appointed by Mr. Buhari last week to bring an end to various internal squabbles among members of the ruling APC across the country.

The former Lagos State governor, who met behind closed doors with the president in his official residence on Tuesday, said he has already started the assignment.

In a brief interview with the Nigerian Television Authority after the meeting, Mr. Tinubu, who spoke about the appointment, said Mr. Buhari has given him free hand to carry out the assignment.

“Democracy is about conflict resolution process. You can’t do it without resolving conflicts. We can’t build it without understanding the conflicts and where we are coming from.

“But we want to leave the country with a legacy. It’s not about Mr. President. That is what he’s telling the country,” he said.

The APC leader, who was accompanied to the meeting by the former interim national chairman of the party, Bisi Akande, also said the decision by Mr. Buhari to ask him to carry out the assignment is one of the best ways to improve Nigeria’s democracy.

He said Mr. Buhari is “one of those rare beings around the country, around Africa who had experienced both worlds: he fought a battle to save Nigeria and came to politics to save Nigeria.

“Very rare people have such an opportunity in their life time and that’s what we talk about legacy; and where we have all the challenges, do what we should do. I am enjoying the challenges so far.”

On the chance of APC emerging victorious in the 2019 elections, Mr. Tinubu said the APC has a better chance and is strongly “determined to prosecute election in a most transparent and democratic manner.

“And we will win,” he said.

Mr. Tinubu also spoke about the recent statements issued by former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida urging Mr. Buhari not to seek re-election.

“I don’t address those shadows. We should let our former presidents join retirees’ club and take pensions but they can participate in our politics if they are interested.

“It is a free world, but this freedom is not served a la carte. They should allow us to move our country forward. It is a challenge to every Nigerian,” he said.

Soyinka: So many unforced errors… I think Buhari is under a trance

Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka says if he has the opportunity to discuss with President Muhammadu Buhari, he would tell the president that he feels he is under a trance.
  1. Soyinka said this at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday.

The eminent scholar listed the clashes between farmers and herdsmen, reinstatement of Usman Yusuf, executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), among the “unforced errors” of the current administration.

“I would say: Mr President, I think you are under a trance… the sooner he gets out of it, the better. So many unforced errors are going on,” he said.

He also challenged the federal government to set a date when herdsmen would be disarmed.

The activist advised the people to unite and prevent armed herdsmen from wreaking havoc in their communities.

Soyinka said people have two lines of action to take when they sight armed herdsmen: “One, report to the police, then disarm the herder.”

He said the attacks were “internally generated” and being launched to serve the interest of individuals who would benefit from instability in the nation.

“There is no illegal organised force that does not sooner or later spill off… as in the case of the escalation of herdsmen violence. Let’s just say there is a control center for it,” he said.

“Sooner or later, the opportunists get in from all angles. I have no doubt in my mind that maverick offshoots are taking advantage of the organised situation. It has been virtually admitted by some of the groups who come to the defence of these violent herdsmen.”

Soyinka also called on security agencies to look closely at the activities of these “highly placed individuals,” saying corruption was the driving force behind the killings.

“We don’t understand how far corruption goes. We don’t understand how corruption can destabilise the polity. We forget that military coups have taken place before all over this continent simply because a military officer is about to be (court) marshalled for one crime or the other,” he said.

“To protect himself, he stages a coup. This happened in Wast Africa, Central Africa and so on. We have had cases of civilians who triggered military coups simply because of their need for power. When you think of the amount of money that has been stolen in this country, enough to fund the budget for a couple of years, then you know that there is enough illegal money floating around to destabilise the nation completely.

“We might end up discovering that some of these highly-placed individuals, politicians especially,- are interested in ensuring that there is chaos from Maiduguri to Lagos.

“Only that way do they feel safe, especially as elections are approaching. Some of them might be panicking that they will not come back in office. Some will at least want to make sure that those who will pursue them to the grave will not come back. They also can have a hand in the phenomenon which we are experiencing today.

After all, some governors… have stated quite clearly that they have openly contacted some of these herdsmen killers and given them money to stop their killings. If one governor has the means to make contact, others also have. The security agencies have the responsibility to look at highly-placed people in whose interest anarchy can be fostered.”

Service chiefs keep mum after 2-hour meeting with Buha

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday met with security chiefs at the presidential villa in Abuja.

At the end of the meeting which lasted three hours, no official was willing to take questions from state house correspondents.

The heads of Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Prisons Service, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, attended the meeting.

When approached, Babagana Monguno, national security adviser, declined to speak with reporters on the outcome of the meeting.

I don’t have powers to create cattle colonies across Nigeria, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says he does not have the constitutional power to create cattle colonies across the country.

According to the president, the Land Use Act of 1978 empowers only state governors and local government chairmen to control land in their domains.

He said this on Saturday at the south-south zonal meeting of the National Committee of the Buhari Support Groups (NCBSG) in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

The president was represented by Ita Enang, a senator and his special adviser on national assembly matters.

“When Nigeria became four regions, we had cattle routes in each of the regions,” he said.

“When Nigeria created states, each of the states made laws to regulate rearing of animals. In 1978, under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as head of state, the Land Use Act was made.

“Under the Land Use Act, the President of Nigeria has power to control lands in Abuja only.”

The federal government had proposed the establishment of cattle colonies to curb the increasing cases of clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture and rural development, had said “sixteen states have given us land to work on”.

While Katsina, President Buhari’s state, has allocated 5,300 hectares of land for cattle colony, Rivers and Benue states said they have no land for the initiative.

Samuel Ortom, Benue state governor, had said: “Other states have the land but we in Benue state, we don’t have and that was what led to us enacting the anti-grazing law.”

Much recently, South West Progressive Youth and People Movement (SWPYPM), a civil society group, asked the federal government to convert Sambisa forest into a mega cattle colony.

Buhari speaks on herdsmen crisis, allegations of nepotism

Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja explained that the policy proposed by Federal Government in response to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country is not meant to colonise any part of the country.

Receiving Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) led by Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, President Buhari said the intention of government is to create grazing locations for cattle rearers, which has now been misconstrued as another form of colonisation.

President Buhari said he regretted that the “well-thought out policy of the Federal Government, which was conceived after wide consultations with stakeholders”, had been largely misunderstood by a section of the public.

He, however, assured the Catholic Bishops that the Federal Government will continue to explore all opportunities and support initiatives to ensure peace and stability in restive areas.

Condemning recent spate of killings in Benue, Adamawa, Taraba, and Zamfara states, the president said security operatives would ensure prosecution of perpetrators and all those found with illegal arms in the affected areas.

‘‘The impression created that I was sitting in an air-conditioned office and home, enjoying myself while these things happened, is dishonest.

‘‘At every step, I have tried to foresee these problems because I have the experience as a former military officer who commanded three out of the four divisions of the Nigerian army, in Lagos, Ibadan and Jos.

‘‘I am quite aware of the problems we have and I am doing my best to get law enforcement agencies to be on alert,’’ he said.

Mr. Buhari told the Catholic Bishops that he would not be tired of recounting remarkable progress recorded in the areas of security, economy and the fight against corruption.

‘‘We have done very well on security in the North East, when you compare what the condition was before we came in and what it is now.

‘‘On the economy, particularly agriculture, I am very pleased that God answered the prayers of Nigerians who prayed for bountiful harvest.

‘‘People have taken advantage of Federal Government policies and programmes to return to the farm and they have not regretted,’’ he said.

On the fight against corruption, the president said the government would be guided by the law in the investigation and prosecution of all graft-related cases.

‘‘People are being prosecuted systematically with evidence.

‘‘If a permanent secretary has five houses in Abuja, two in Kaduna and one in Borno and Sokoto and he can’t account for the properties and there are bank transactions linking him to the properties, the prosecuting agencies will not have difficulties to make progress on the case,” he said.

On the question of federal character, the president said no ethnic group or political zone has been deliberately marginalised in the appointments made so far.

He, however, added that he would take a second look at areas on which issues have been raised, when a compendium of all government appointments is submitted to him.
In his remarks, Mr. Kaigama pledged that the Catholic Church in Nigeria would continue to support the Buhari administration and make its contribution to nation-building through prayers, admonitions and assistance to needy Nigerians.

‘‘As the voice of the people, we shall continue to highlight the plight of our people and play our prophetic role of sensitising the government, thus promoting good governance, national unity