LATEST ARTICLES

THE MUHAMMADU BUHARI MOTHER AND CHILD HOSPITAL IN MAKURDI, BENUE STATE

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In continuation of the fulfilment of his campaign promise of affordable healthcare for Nigerians, do you know that a 120-bed Mother and Child Hospital has been built by the Buhari administration in Makurdi the Benue State capital?

The well-furnished and equipped facility, which has been named as Muhammadu Buhari Mother and Child Hospital, will soon be commissioned by the President himself after which it will commence operations.

Very importantly, it is gratifying to know that this new hospital will not only restrict itself to Mothers and Children but will treat other adults with health issues that can be treated there. And it is also remarkable that the administration is building similar hospitals across all the states.

About yesterday…Friday August 2019

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By Malam Ibrahim sheme

Malam Nasiru El-Rufai has shown tremendous leadership values in his intervention in the traffic gridlock yesterday. I said exactly that to my friend who was travelling to Kaduna with me after the governor walked past my car window acknowledging cheers from victims of the gridlock, scores of whom followed him enthusiastically. Even if he did not help clear the jam (but he did!), his presence alone – as the leader of the state – was enough balm on the bruised psyche of the commuters. He boosted our morale, raised our hopes, and assured us about the future. At that material time, that’s all what matters. I immediately saw in him a presidential material, i.e. if they don’t hand it over to Tinubu on a platter of gold!

What amazed me most was the distance the big man (I insist he is not a diminutive person as some insinuate) covered on foot. The beginning of the gridlock and its end were very long, maybe 30km, and Malam covered them all on foot! And his walk was brisk, energetic, jaunty even though he wore a babbar riga, as if he was enjoying it. I wondered how healthy he was physically and emotionally as to do that. Even younger elements like us would have to think thrice before daring to trek that long. He must have been inspired by the passion to bring comfort and solace to us, the stranded citizens. And he did so, selflessly. Some other Excellency would have turned back from the beginning of the gridlock or ordered for a helicopter to come and pick him. Some would even pretend that their tooth was suddenly aching again. But Malam was there from evening to morning, offering sympathy, smilingly reassuring everyone. He must have melted the hearts of many, including those that disagree with him on the political scene.

But then it is his style to be there just when it matters. Malam has always virtually walked into trouble – I mean trouble spots. Any time there is a crisis somewhere in his state, more so the recurring communal type, he will quickly dash there and be physically involved with the effort to solve it. He wouldn’t stay back in his cozy, air-conditioned offices receiving updates from minders. Somehow this works; it helps douse the tension. And it actually did so last night as admirers kept hooting, “Sai Malam! Sai Malam!” I heard several people, in spite of the debilitating situation in which they were caught, saying loudly that after Buhari it should be El-Rufai’s turn to become president. I laughed at the Nigerian’s propensity to mix politics with hardship and still enjoy the admixture.

It is a style other leaders, especially President Buhari, would do well to emulate. I remember that as Zamfara burnt with all those terrorist killings by bandits, the issue of the President needing to be there on ground (or even to go for commiseration) was tops in many people’s analysis of the incident.

Call it populism or whatever. Malam Nasiru is THAT type of leader the people want. He wouldn’t be sipping green tea as his Rome burns!

Kudos to Malam. I doff my hat to him multiple times!
Sheme is a successful journalist and author. Publisher of Fim magazine, Director communication, National open university. Abuja

Press Briefing By South West Peoples Alliance: Don’t Just Probe Obasanjo On Power Sector Malfeasance, Prosecute Him Too

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Date: Friday, 9th August, 2019.

I warmly welcome everyone who has found it necessary to be here with us today. I most especially welcome the esteemed members of the press to this briefing.

Gentlemen of the press, I should start by stating that this conference has become necessary due to the conversation on probing the power sector started by the Young Nigerian Professionals who delivered a Press Conference on Sunday last week in the nation’s capital, Abuja, about the decision of the House of Representatives to probe the power sector spending in the country.

The group had called for unrelenting efforts by the House in that probe, while noting the necessity of accountability as a nation if we were to make any progress.

At their very auspicious conference, the YNP called on Nigerians to monitor the planned probe of all power contracts from 1999 to date, which the House of Representatives is about to kick-start, and ensure that the process is thorough and that all those culpable in the mismanagement of the funds earmarked for power in Nigeria are brought to justice.

Let me start by saying that we agree wholeheartedly with the body of young professionals on this issue. But we will like to take the discussion further by demanding for specific interrogation of key individuals in the whole power mismanagement saga.

It’s our belief that there are known actors that were responsible for overseeing the sleaze that took place in the power sector spending since 1999.

The most prominent, as every Nigerian possibly knows, is former President Olusegun Obasanjo – who is reported to have spent a whopping sum of about 16 Billion Dollars on power, with nothing worthy or credible to show for it.

We would like to commend the House of Representatives for its decision to again re-investigate the power sector spending. It is our belief that what the House is set to do represents justice for the people of Nigeria who have had to bear the burden and pain associated with the poor power situation in the country.

Until this investigation and other related efforts that ensure transparency and openness are undertaken, Nigeria cannot really move forward or record any significant progress.

The unearthing of the sleaze that took place in the power sector is key if we want to start a new footing that ensures proper accountability going forward.

While we are confident that the investigation by the House of Representatives would unmask the fraud that was committed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his cronies in the power sector; we demand that the House should, upon the completion of its investigation, endeavor to submit the name of the former President and his conspirators to the country’s anti-corruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), for full prosecution.

The ultimate goal is not to undertake a futile ‘name and shame exercise’, rather we want to see a situation where all those involved would face punishment for their crimes against the country.

While he and his co-travelers must be made to return all stolen monies, we demand that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo live up to his avowed commitment to transparency by coming forward to explain his role in the alleged mismanagement of power funds; without directing all those who seek to hold him to account to a self-serving and delusional book whose account has not exonerated him of active involvement in the sleaze.

No doubt, only a comprehensive prosecution that is in tandem with justice will send a strong message to all those who have either managed or still managing our resources that Nigerians will no longer tolerate any corrupt act by anyone, no matter how highly placed. This is the only way we can sanitize the power sector and begin to reset the country.

Thank you.

Signed:
Oseni Owolabi Ajimomuya (Chairman)
Ismael Lanre Oguntoyinbo (Secretary)

Jonathan never won any election, even in Bayelsa — Nabena

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By chibueke obigidi 9/8/2019

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena, has said former President Goodluck Jonathan never contested and won any election even in his home state of Bayelsa.

Yekini said no amount of “falsehood and rigging” of the November 16, governorship election in Bayelsa State could stop PDP’s defeat at the poll, adding that the PDP had become very unpopular and stood rejected in the state.

Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, Nabena cautioned Jonathan to be mindful of making misguided comments so as not to ridicule his personality.

Jonathan was quoted a few days ago as saying during the PDP Elders’ Advisory Council meeting at Government House, Yenagoa, that the APC was not on ground in Bayelsa and could not win the forth coming governorship election.

Jonathan added that the large number of aspirants on PDP’s platform indicated the dominance of the party as the preferred platform for election.

But the deputy image maker of the APC said, “Former President Jonathan has never contested any election and won. Even that of 2015, he contested as a sitting President, he lost woefully. The recent 2019 senatorial election in Bayelsa State, APC defeated Jonathan’s candidate in his senatorial district.

“Jonathan is attempting to rewrite history on presidential elections conducted under his watch in Bayelsa State while he was president. He never won, as votes never counted. Aided by security agents, election results were simply announced by the election body in favour of the PDP.”

The Hard Facts! Ahmadu Bello Sardaunan Sokoto

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Complied by an unknown writer
1. Ahmadu Bello was born on June 12, 1909 in Rabbah, present day, Sokoto State.
2. He was the son of a concubine.
3. His father died when he was 6 years old.
4. He was the only surviving son of his father and mother, Mariyamu.
5. He was a great grand-son of Shehu Uthman dan Fodio, the great Fulani jihadist.
6. He got his Islamic and Arabic education as a teenager from Mallam Garba who was the Imam of Rabbah village.
7. He finished at the age of 16 top of his class.
8. He attended the Teacher’s Training College, Katsina (later Barewa College) where he was a School Prefect and Class Captain.
9. Thereafter, he graduated as a Teacher in 1931 with a credit equivalent Grade III result.
10. He was appointed by the Sultan of Sokoto to work as a teacher at the Sokoto Middle School, where he was once a student and taught from 1931-1934.
11. He was appointed a rural administrator (District Head) at the age 25 in 1934.
12. He gave birth to a daughter after his death (posthumously).
13. He became a candidate for the succession to the throne of the Sultan of Sokoto at the age of 29.
14. He made attempts to become the Sultan of Sokoto but was not successful, losing to Sir Siddiq Abubakar III who reigned for 50 years until his death in 1988.
15. The new Sultan immediately made Sir Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna (Warlord) of Sokoto, a honourary title and promoted him to the Sokoto Native Authority Council, these titles automatically made him the Chief Political Adviser to the Sultan.
16. Later, he was put in charge of the Sokoto Province to oversee 47 districts.
17. In 1943, a drama played out when he was thrown before the Sultan’s court for misappropriating jangali (cattle) tax for the Gusau region where he was the Councillor.
18. He was sentenced to 1 year in prison, but spent 3 months in jail.
19. By 1944, he was back at the Sultan’s Palace to work as the Chief Secretary of the State Native Administration.
20. In 1949, at the age of 40, he was nominated for a seat in the Regional House of Assembly.
21. He spoke impeccable English, and respected many European values.
22. Sir Ahmadu Bello keenly encouraged female education.
23. In 1954, Sir Ahmadu Bello became the first Premier of Northern Nigeria.
24. He never had material accumulation instincts, did not accumulate wealth and gave out whatever came into his possession. He was scrupulous and prudent with public finance but generous with his own money.
25. In 1955, he made his first pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
26. The ‘Work and Worship’ motto on the Northern Nigerian crest was adopted by him.
27. He chose to remain the Premier of Northern Nigeria and gave the position of Prime Minister to his hand-picked candidate, the late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who was then the Deputy President of the NPC.
28. Sir Ahmadu Bello never sought the leadership of Nigeria.
29. He once stated that he would rather be the Sultan of Sokoto than to be the leader of Nigeria.
30. At various times, he made inflammatory statements about the Ibos as He once referred to them as the ‘Jews of Nigeria’ whose sole purpose is to dominate wherever they find themselves.
31. In 1959, Queen Elizabeth II (b.1926) made him a Knight of the British Empire (KBE), and that explains the ‘’Sir’’ in his title.
32. In 1962, he became Pioneer Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria.
33. He founded the Bank of the North (now Unity Bank).
34. He founded the Northern Nigerian Development Company.
35. He established the 16,000-seater Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.
36. He established the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna (the only military university in Nigeria).
37. He established the University of Northern Nigeria, which stretched from Samaru in Kaduna State to Funtua in Katsina State, on the 4th of October, 1962 now known as Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
38. By the beginning of 1966, it was quite clear that the Sardauna was one of the most powerful figures in the country, and many believed that he was actually the most powerful, even much more powerful than the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
39. His party, Northern People Congress (NPC), held sway over 29 million out of 55 million Nigerians.
40. On his way to Umrah (the Muslim lesser pilgrimage), he received a letter with threats to kill him.
41. The letter was said to have stated: “We have arranged to kill you and the Prime Minister (Alhaji Tafawa Balewa).”
42. As a devout Muslim, the Sardauna believed that giving his life in the service of Northern Nigeria was worth the sacrifice and that death was a certain end.
43. He later said of the threat: “Don’t worry, continue to get useful information. I know what to do.”
44. On the evening of 14th January, 1966, armed soldiers, led by Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, arrived at his residence at Lugard House, Kaduna, with the message of death.
45. He told his family to stay away in safety but they would have none of that. They all trooped behind him as he came out of the family quarters and in a matter of seconds, he was surrounded by the soldiers led by Nzeogwu who fired at his babban riga . And immediately, blood sputtered from the point of impact through the beard on his face.
46. At that point, his first and eldest wife, Hafsatu, threw herself at him in a final embrace. They were both shot.
47. He was believed to have been killed instantly when a bullet penetrated his spinal cord.
48. Brave till the very end, he had faced the soldiers and introduced himself as the Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of the Northern Region.
49. He once referred to Nigeria as the ‘mistake of 1914′ but he later worked for and gave his best for the new nation of Nigeria.
50. He died leaving £10 in his bank account. Equivalent of 5,000 naira in tod. May he soul continue to rest in perfect peace. Allahumma Amin Reply Forward

Wamakko Versus Maccido : Tribunal adjourns for Judgment as Counsels adopt final addresses

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The National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Sokoto on Thursday adjourned to an undisclosed date for Judgemnt in the Petitions filed by the defeated Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party  ( PDP), Senator Ahmed Mohammed Maccido,  against the winner of the February 23, 2019, Sokoto North Senatorial District Polls , Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko .

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Peter Akhimie Akhihiero,  said while adjourning the matter , ” the matter has been adjourned for Judgment.  The date will be communictated in due course .”

The Counsels for the Petitioners and the Respondents had earlier adopted all their final written addresses .

The Lead Counsel of the 1st Respondent,  Dr Hassan Liman, SAN, said ,” in accordance with the Rules of the Court and the Electoral Act, the 1st Respondent has filed his written addresses dated 17/7/2019 and filed on the same date .

” We have also filed a reply to the Petitioners’  written address on 1/8/2019 . We hereby adopt the said two addresses as our final argument in this Petition .

” We are urging the Court to dismiss and strike out the Petition for being Statute -Barred as it was filed out of time, as well as lacking in merit. “

Lead Counsel for the 2nd Respondent,  Chief Jacob Ochidi , also stated that , the 2nd Respondent has filed his final written address on 2/7/2019.

Ochidi explained, ” I herebey adopt the written address as the argument of the 2nd Respondent in this Petition.

” I am also urging the Tribunal to strike out the petition for being Statute – Barred , resolving all the issues of the 2nd Respondent.

” To dismiss same petition for lacking in merit and award substantial cost in favour of the 2nd Respondent, against the Petitioners. “

Similarly, Lead Counsel for the 3rd Respondent,  Barrister Henry Eni-Otu, told the Court that,his Client has filed his final written address on 18/7/2019.

He averred ,” I want to adopt it as the argument of the 3rd and urge the Court to strike out the petition for being Statute-Barred .

” I am also praying the Court to dismiss the Petition in its entirety  for being unmeritorious and speculative ..”

The Lead Counsel of the Petitioners,  Dr Ibrahim Abdullahi said the Petitioners have filed their written address on 25/7/2019.

” We respectively adopt the same written address, making particular reliance on legal arguments.

” I am also urging the Court to resolve all the issues against the Respondents, to hold that , the Petition is not Statute-Barred and to grant the reliefs of the Petitioners. “

Responding, Dr Hassan Liman , SAN, commended the Chairman and menbers of the Tribunal for being diligent and working assiduously to ensure smooth proceedings.

Naira Scarcity: Buhari Summons Emefiele, EFCC Chairman To Aso Rock

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President Muhammmadu Buhari Tuesday held a closed door meeting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), AbdulRasheed Bawa, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State as well as the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) Governor Atiku Bagudu Abubakar of Kebbi State at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting held amid scarcity of naira notes which had elicited protests in various parts of the country.

Last Friday, the President had implored citizens to give him a seven-day window which lapsed on February 10 to resolve the currency crunch that had emanated from the implementation of the Central Bank policy to change high value Naira notes with newly designed ones after a meeting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors.

Buhari had equally assured that he would be meeting with both the CBN and the Security and Minting Company and a decision would be taken based on current realities in the best interest of the people.

The governors of the ruling party had asked that the President directed an adequate injection of the new notes and the continued utilisation of the old ones until the end of the year to cushion the negative effects which the policy decision to redesign the currency had on their constituencies.

Meanwhile, the governments of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states have sued the federal government and the CBN before the Supreme Court over the currency redesigning and “de-monetisation” policy.

They are asking the court to make a declaration that the three-month notice given by the federal government and the CBN under the directive of the president, the expiration of which will render the old bank notes inadmissible as legal tender, is in gross violation of the provisions of Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, which specifies that reasonable notice must be given before such a policy and that the limit cannot be outside that provided under Section 22(1) of the CBN Act 2007.

However, an FCT High Court had on Monday restrained the CBN, President Buhari and 27 commercial banks from extending or sabotaging the currency redesigning and cash withdrawal limit policy in the country.

The political parties that went to court included Action Alliance (AA), Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and National Rescue Movement (NRM).

But Barrister Sam Kargbo (SAN) faulted the decision of the high court to listen to a matter already before the Supreme Court.

Daily Trust reports that after the initial January 31 deadline, the CBN, after reportedly seeking the approval of President Buhari had extended the deadline for the currency swap to February 10.

But it appears the extension has not changed anything for the better as millions of Nigerians could not access the new N1000, N500 and N200 notes while even the lower denominations of N100 and N50 that have not been altered are not available.

We Won’t Be Used To Thwart 2023 Polls – CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it will not  do anything inimical to the success of the 2023 general elections.

CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, gave the assurance when he hosted the INEC management led by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the commission.

Yakubu who spoke earlier told the CBN governor of the impact the naira redesign policy to the successful conduct of the elections.

The INEC boss, therefore, requested concessions regarding the naira redesign policy with specific reference to the limitations placed on cash withdrawals and the need to make some cash available for some peculiarities that cannot be met with electronics transfer of monies.

According to him, some of the service providers, especially transporters are required to be paid in cash and that aside from that, experience has shown that emergency situations do arise on election day which could demand the use of cash by the commission.

“I am encouraged by the continued willingness of the apex bank to support the commission’s determination to deliver credible elections on February 25 and March 11, 2023. Particularly, the facilitation of activities necessary for the success of the election, in an area where the CBN has exclusive responsibility.

“Nigerian election is a huge and complex undertaking that requires the engagement of critical services and in line with the provisions of the extant laws and regulations, service providers are generally paid by means of electronic transfer to the accounts.

“However, there are equally critical areas, such as transportation and human support services that have to be immediately remunerated, either partially or in full before services are rendered.

“In addition, emergency situations may arise requiring immediate cash payments. Some of the critical service providers are unbanked. Over the years we have worked with the CBN and commercial banks to pay for such services seamlessly during general elections, as well as off-cycle and bye elections.

“Over the years, the commission has also migrated all its accounts at national and state level to the CBN. And this arrangement has worked without encumbrances to our activities. In view of the recent policy, involving in the redesign of some denominations of our national currency and the limits placed on cash withdrawals and availability. We consider this meeting important in addressing some of the areas of concern with just 17 days to the 2023 general election.

“We are confident that arising from this meeting, we can assuage the anxiety expressed by some of our service providers who are determined to make the 2023 general election one of the best organised elections in Nigeria, but we cannot do it alone. That is why the commission is mobilising every critical national institution for the success of the election. This meeting is part of this effort,” Yakubu said.

Responding, Emefiele said he would ensure the CBN is not seen as an agent use to thwart the forthcoming general election,

“The relationship between the CBN dates back to even before I became the governor and that relationship, I will say borders purely on trust and confidence.
“We also appreciate and truly do appreciate the fact the INEC supported by the Nigerian populace have the trust and confidence in the ability of the central bank in playing the roles that we have played for you so far to ensure that our elections hold without any hitches.

“We are happy that in the course of this relationship, we have not disappointed you and that is the reason you have called me again this time. Now, just aside from the issue of storage of election materials together with transportation of election materials from CBN locations to your own specific or designated locations.

“I will make sure that I do not allow ourselves as central bank to be seen as an agent that frustrated positive outcome of the elections,” Emefiele said.

Naira: APC govs sued Buhari for personal ‘benefits’, says Melaye

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The spokesman for the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, Dino Melaye, has said the fear of losing their expected benefits in the “unlikely” event of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, winning the election, is the sole reason governors Nasir El-Rufai, Yahaya Bello and Bello Matawalle took the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to court over the naira redesign policy.

The governors of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states sued the Federal Government earlier in the week, praying the court to stop further implementation of the naira redesign policy over what they called the hardship imposed on their people who find it difficult to swap their old naira notes for new ones, particularly those living in the rural areas.

In an ex parte motion filed through their lawyer, AbdulHakeem Mustapha, the three governors, all members of the APC, prayed the court to grant them an interim injunction stopping the Federal Government either by itself or acting through the Central Bank of Nigeria, Money Deposit Banks or their agents from implementing the February 10 deadline of swapping the old 200, 500 and 1000 currency notes for new ones.

“Unless this Honourable Court intervenes, the Government and people of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States will continue to go through a lot of hardship and would ultimately suffer great loss as a result of the insufficient and unreasonable time within which the Federal Government is embarking on the ongoing currency redesign policy,” Mustapha said.

In a statement signed by Melaye on Tuesday, however, the former federal lawmaker said, “Those who have positioned themselves to benefit from the unlikely and inconceivable Tinubu presidency are feeling so threatened, hopeless and rudderless that they have even now taken their own President to court over his refusal to endorse their evil agenda of using public funds to buy votes. As it happened in the Egypt of old, their money has failed in their hands.”

The statement added, “Frightened by the unmistakable and unstoppable prospects of the loss of the presidential election, the APC has, in panic mode, resorted to outright falsehood against Atiku Abubakar, the imaginary APC cabal in the Villa, the Governor of Central Bank, the Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and even the leader of their party, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

“The current narrative being peddled is anchored on a conspiracy theory involving the aforementioned in an agenda that reflects ethnic pursuit. Having boasted that the APC has money to buy votes and having failed to mask behind a pretentious preference of power shift to the South, the new song is now against the indomitable Atiku as the favourite of the powers in Aso Rock, the Governor of the Central Bank and the Managing Director of NNPC. And I ask if the humiliated Nigerian masses and the key figures of the APC administration are against APC in an election year, how can it think of victory in the Presidential election?

“Going by the propagated lies of the power hawks in APC led by Nasir El-Rufai, all things have ever been done to favour Atiku. By their postulation, the APC cabal in Aso Rock has done everything to favour Atiku, including the trillions of naira debt overhang, the spiralling inflation, insecurity, fuel scarcity, job losses, brain drain and unemployment.”

Melaye further said Nigerians had given the APC “a long rope” and could now discern the leaders that could serve them, adding that “the greatest campaigner against the APC today is the APC.”

He further noted that unlike, Tinubu, “Atiku is advancing rapidly to breast the tape. Like a striker on the soccer field, his opponents and defenders are doing everything to launch a sliding tackle. At this stage of the game, Atiku is already in the penalty box. The more the tackles, the greater his prospect of scoring. And with the panic defense being launched by the APC, it is obvious that they have, by their own confusion, scored an own goal. Head or tail, Atiku is the winner, as we now have the hosting fans booing their own home team and applauding the opponent.”

JUST IN: Fuel scarcity will ease off next week, Kyari assures Nigerians

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The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mele Kyari, has assured Nigerians that the lingering fuel scarcity will ease off next week.

Kyari said this in a video clip shown on Channels Television on Tuesday evening.

He however said he could not assure that the queues at the fuel stations would disappear, but added that there would be significant improvement in the next one week

He said, “Now within the next one week, I’m not saying that you’re going to have zero queues within the next one week, no, because a number of things are out of our control, and of course the market forces will determine some of these issues.

“But I believe that we’re going to see substantial and  relative ease compared to today in the next one week.

“I apologise for the situation on behalf of all of us in the oil and gas industry.”

The PUNCH reports that the fuel scarcity coupled with the scarcity of both the new and old naira notes have brought untold hardship on citizens, crippling economic activities across the country.

Consequently, protests have broken out in various states and cities across the federation, with citizens lamenting the twin scarcity and its impact of their businesses and everyday lives.

Recall that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had also asked Nigerians last week Friday to give him seven days from then to resolve the naira crisis, with two days left to the completion of the seven days requested for by the President.

HURIWA slams Buhari over Katsina killings, naira scarcity

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… says Campaign For Tinubu Height Of Insensitivity

… says rally while Katsina people mourn is mockery

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Tuesday, lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari over his persistent failure to secure lives and property in the country for nearly eight years of his administration.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the presidential campaign of the All Progressives Congress in Katsina on Monday despite the killing of over 100 vigilantes in Gidan Gamji village, Danmaidaki ward of Kankara Local Government Area of the state is the height of insensitivity by the ruling party.

The group said if the APC is sympathetic to the plight of the people, the party should have suspended its campaign in Katsina with the unprecedented killing of over 100 vigilantes by bandits in the North-West geopolitical zone, saying campaign while the people of the state mourned is a mockery of the sensibility of the people and the entire indigenes in Nigeria.

The group also scolded the President over the redesign of three naira notes and the new deadline of February 10, saying the scarcity of naira notes has led to the death of at least one customer who slumped and died after hours of waiting in Agbor, Delta State.

The group said millions of Nigerians have been stranded in the last few weeks, with Point of Sale operators charging as high as N2,000 when people come to withdraw just N10,000. This is scandalous and exorbitant and totally avoidable if the CBN and its governor, Godwin Emefiele have done the needful to release the needed new notes to the populace.

President Muhammadu Buhari has just scored another infamous own goal and has earned a treacherous medal as the Head of State under whose watch Nigerians were killed or died whilst struggling to pull out their savings in the Nigerian deposit banks following the ill-advised, ill-timed decision by the Governor of the Nigerian Central Bank Mr.Godwin Emefiele to redesign the Naira notes and phase out three of the most important and popular Naira notes of N1,000 Bill, N500 Bill and N200 Bill.

Onwubiko said the January 31 deadline for the invalidation of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes is not workable and feasible under any condition, pointing out that even in the developed parts of the world like the United Kingdom which changed the image on four polymer banknotes (£5, £10, £20 and £50) upon the demise of Queen Elizabeth II last year and replaced her with that of the new monarch, King Charles III.

The group also sought a one-year extension deadline by the CBN for all Nigerians, especially those in remote and unbanked areas to exchange their old notes for new ones, citing the example of the United Kingdom which unveiled its new notes on December 20, 2022, but gave the deadline of 2024 for banks to still swap old pound sterling for the new ones.

He said, “We have read the condemnation of the President on the Katsina attack by bandits where over 100 vigilantes were killed in cold blood. Yet again, the incapacitated President who can’t protect Nigerians is busy wailing. He would go ahead to attend a presidential rally in the state just while the people are mourning. If that is not a mockery, then it is what?

“It remains a wonder why the National Assembly is so dysfunctional that it is heavily bribed by the executive arm to overlook the failures of President Muhammad Buhari to protect lives and property and then stop him from using soldiers and police to kill protesters.

“We call on the international community to take diplomatic steps to sanction President Buhari over these actions.”

Naira swap: Court restrains Buhari, CBN on Feb 10 deadline

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• Three APC governors sue FG over naira scarcity
• Obaseki backs cashless policy
• Protesters accuse banks of hoarding, selling naira notes to politicians for vote buying
• 14 political parties threaten to boycott elections if naira redesign, cash withdrawal policies are cancelled
• NACCIMA: CBN should have introduced N5,000 note not redesign naira

With three days left to the expiration of the February 10 deadline, a Federal Capital Territory (FCT), High Court, has compelled the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 27 commercial banks to go ahead with the full implementation of the naira redesign policy, restraining President Muhammadu Buhari from further extending the deadline.

In a motion by four political parties, namely Action Alliance (AA), Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and National Rescue Movement (NRM), the court, presided over by Justice Eleojo Enenche, also granted an order directing the CEOs of the 27 commercial banks and their alter egos to show cause why they should not be arrested and prosecuted for the economic and financial sabotage of the country by their illegal hoarding, withholding, not paying or disbursing the new N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes despite supply of such notes by CBN.

Delivering a ruling, yesterday, in a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2234/2023, the court restrained CBN from extending the deadline on the use of old naira notes pending the determination of the suit. The order will be for an initial period of seven days until the motion of notice is heard on February 14.

“An order of interim injunction is hereby made restraining the defendants, whether by themselves, staff, agents, officers, interfacing banks or whosoever not to suspend, stop, extend, vary or interfere with the extant termination date of use of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 bank notes, being February 10, 2023, pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice,” the court held.

The judge also made an order of interim injunction “directing and mandating the defendants whether by themselves, staff, agents, officers, interfacing banks or whosoever described to comply with, implement and give effect to the currency redesign and restructuring of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 bank notes on or before the last day of February 10, pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice.”

The court further directed bank heads, chief executive officers, managing directors and/or alter egos “to forthwith show cause as to why they shall not be arrested and prosecuted for the economic and financial sabotage of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by their illegal act of hoarding, withholding, nor paying or disbursing the new N200, N500 and N1000 bank note, being the legal tender of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to their respective customers, despite supplies of such currency note by the second and third defendants, thereby leading to the present scarcity of currency notes in circulation.”

The order of the court has rendered futile all behind-the-scene efforts, especially by governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to force the hand of the President to reverse the naira swap policy or at least further extend its deadline.

EARLIER, yesterday, three APC governors sued the Federal Government over the naira redesign policy. Governors Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) dragged the Federal Government before the Supreme Court.

The states are seeking a declaration that the Demonetisation Policy of the Federation being currently carried out by CBN under the directive of President Buhari is not in compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), CBN Act, 2007 and actual laws on the subject.

They are also asking the court to make a declaration that the three-month notice given by government and CBN, the expiration of which will render the old notes inadmissible as legal tender, is in gross violation of the provisions of Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, which specifies that reasonable notice must be given before such a policy and that the limit cannot be outside that provided under Section 22(1) of the CBN Act 2007.

Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Kaduna State, Aisha Dikko, in an affidavit, averred that although the naira redesign policy was introduced to encourage the cashless policy of the Federal Government, it is not all transactions that can be conveniently carried out through electronic means.

Dikko also pointed out that the Federal Government has embarked on the policy within a narrow and unworkable time frame, and this has adversely affected citizens within Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states as well as their governments, especially as the new notes are not available for use by the people, as well as the state governments.

“That the majority of the indigenes of the plaintiffs’ states, who reside in the rural areas have been unable to exchange or deposit their old naira notes as there are no banks in the rural areas where the majority of the population of the states reside,” she said.

No date has been fixed for hearing.

Governors of the ruling party had met with the President last week and pleaded with him to allow old notes and the new ones co-exist. The President told them to give him seven days to look into issues arising from naira redesign.

However, after the meeting, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, warned that the apex bank was not considering shifting the February 10 deadline for the old notes to cease to be legal tender.

BUT Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has backed the Federal Government’s policy, saying moving the nation’s economy to a cashless system should be supported by Nigerians because it is the best for the nation’s banking system.

Obaseki said this in Benin, yesterday, while speaking with journalists after a meeting with CBN officials and senior management of banks in the state on ways of finding solution to naira notes scarcity.

He said: “Edo State government has no problem with the policy to move our economy into a cashless economy. The policy should be encouraged, it is the best for our banking system.

“However, we want to ensure that we do this as painlessly and as seamlessly as possible, improve on communication with our people so that we can reduce their fears because when people go to the banks to collect cash, they want to spend it on something.”

Obaseki said his administration would join hands with CBN and the bankers’ committee in the state to monitor the situation and resolve the problems, adding that the meeting was called due to his concern over the hardship on the people.

On his part, Blaise Ijebor, CBN Director, said he was in Benin to encourage people to use alternative means to make payment for business transactions.

“You can use your ATM card, bank app or USSD code to make payment. So, use alternative means as much as possible but we are going to make sure that there is cash supply within the next day or two,” he said.

He added: “We have asked banks to pay up to N20,000 but because of the crowd, some banks might not be able to pay N20,000 at once. So, if they can pay N5,000 or N10,000, use that to manage for the next day or two. We are going to make supply available.”

Protesters under the aegis of Pro-Nigeria Group, yesterday, stormed parts of Abuja, including the Unity Fountain and the CBN head office in a solidarity walk in support of the policy on naira redesign. The protesters, in their numbers and carrying various placards threw their weight behind the policy, saying it will help to curb the perennial problem of vote buying in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

Addressing journalists, Mr. Isaac Balami, convener of Pro Nigeria Group, said the group backed the CBN policy because it is good for the economy.

“CBN had given 10 days extension but politicians are trying to play politics, to blackmail CBN and possibly blackmail the President to go back on his words. We are here to support the monetary policy. This policy will stop vote buying. Vote buying is a major problem and it has destroyed Nigeria. Enough is enough,” he added.

The PNG accused commercial banks of hoarding the new currency provided by the apex bank and selling them to politicians at a black market rate and called on the CBN to ensure that all the banks flouting its directives are properly sanctioned.

The group appealed to Nigerians to be patient as it expects CBN to urgently address the bottlenecks currently being experienced.

MEANWHILE, 14 of the 18 registered political parties participating in the general elections have threatened to withdraw all participation from the polls if the Federal Government and CBN cancel or suspend the cash withdrawal limit and naira redesign policies.

This position was made known yesterday at a press conference by the Forum of Chairmen of Nigerian Political Parties and Forum of Candidates for the 2023 General Election. The candidates’ forum comprised Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and House of Assembly candidates.

The text of the press conference was read by the spokesperson of the forum, Kenneth Udeze and National Chairman of Action Alliance.

The forum declared: “We, hereby, announce our resolution that at least 14 of the 18 political parties in Nigeria will not be interested in the 2023 general elections and indeed we shall withdraw all our participation from the electoral process if these currency policies are suspended or cancelled or if the deadline is further shifted.”

Defending the policies, the forum stated that the policies will enhance the credibility of the election. “In fact, if these policies are implemented fully and without shifting the deadline of February 10, President Buhari would have taken a very huge step closer to fulfilling his promise to the world that the 2023 general elections would be credible, free and fair.”

THE Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has said CBN should have introduced a N5,000 note rather than embarking on a currency redesign.

Speaking yesterday during an interview, Sola Obadimu, director-general of NACCIMA, said there would have been less pressure on Nigerians if the naira redesign policy was implemented differently.

Obadimu said the creation of a new N5,000 note would have mopped up the money in circulation without creating discomfort. He said the CBN would have also spent less money on printing new notes.

“If I were the CBN governor, all I would have done was to have introduced a N5,000 note. That would have helped to mop up the money in circulation without the kickbacks we are getting. Because it is a higher denomination, fewer amounts of bills would have been printed.’’

On the CBN’s cashless policy, the NACCIMA DG said it was a laudable initiative because “that is where the world is heading”.

He, however, expressed reservations with government’s level of preparedness, particularly in the aspect of internet infrastructure.

“For instance, when a financial transaction declines, you get debited and the bank cannot refund you for up to three weeks even if the transaction is to the same bank,” Obadimu said.

“So, for the urban network to improve and for the rural areas to catch up, the government has to invest heavily in infrastructure so that every part of Nigeria will be digitised.”

TheGuardian

Earthquake kills more than 4,800 in Turkey, Syria

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Rescuers in Turkey and Syria braved freezing darkness, aftershocks and collapsing buildings Tuesday, as they dug for survivors buried by a string of earthquakes that killed at least 4,800 people.

Disaster agencies said several thousand buildings were flattened in cities across a vast border region — pouring misery on an area already plagued by war, insurgency, refugee crises and a recent cholera outbreak.

Through the night, survivors used their bare hands to pick over the twisted ruins of multi-storey apartment blocks — trying to save family, friends and anyone else sleeping inside when the first massive 7.8-magnitude quake struck early Monday.

“Where is my mum?” asked a distraught seven-year-old girl who was pulled — her face, hair and pyjamas covered in dust — from a collapsed building in Hatay, on the Turkish side of the border.

The sense of disbelief was widespread, as residents struggled to comprehend the scale of the disaster.

“We thought it was the apocalypse,” said Melisa Salman, a 23-year-old reporter in the southeastern Turkish city of Kahramanmaras.

Some of the heaviest devastations occurred near the quake’s epicentre between Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, a city of two million where entire blocks now lie in ruins under gathering snow.

As residents tried to clear a mountain of masonry, plasterboard and furniture that had been a multi-story building, another collapsed nearby — sending crowds screaming and clamouring for safety.

With aftershocks continuously rattling the area, many terrified and exhausted survivors spent the night outdoors, too afraid to go home.

Some huddled under bus shelters, some wrapped themselves in plastic to repel the freezing rain and others burned debris to keep warm.

Mustafa Koyuncu packed his wife and their five children into their parked car.

“We can’t go home,” the 55-year-old told AFP. “Everyone is afraid.”

Turkey’s relief agency AFAD put the latest death toll at 3,381 in that country alone — bringing the confirmed tally in both Turkey and Syria to 4,890.

There are fears that the toll will rise inexorably, with World Health Organization officials estimating up to 20,000 may have died.

“There is a family I know under the rubble,” said 20-year-old student Omer El Cuneyd in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa.

“Until 11:00 am or noon, my friend was still answering the phone. But she no longer answers. She is down there.”

Overwhelmed medics struggled to treat the estimated 20,000 injured.

All and any
The US Geological Survey said Monday’s first earthquake struck at 4:17 am (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 18 kilometres (11 miles).

The initial earthquake was so powerful it was felt as far away as Greenland and was followed by a series of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude tremor that struck in the middle of search and rescue work on Monday.

The impact was devastating and sparked a global response, with dozens of nations from Ukraine to New Zealand vowing to send help.

But a winter blizzard has covered major roads into the area in ice and snow and officials said three major airports have been rendered inoperable, complicating deliveries of vital aid.

Much of the quake-hit area of northern Syria has already been decimated by years of war and aerial bombardment by Syrian and Russia forces that destroyed homes, hospitals and clinics.

The conflict is already shaping the emergency response, with Syria’s envoy to the United Nations Bassam Sabbagh seemingly ruling out reopening border crossings that would allow aid to reach areas controlled by rebel groups.

The Syrian health ministry reported damage across the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus, where Russia is leasing a naval facility.

Even before the tragedy, buildings in Aleppo — Syria’s pre-war commercial hub — often collapsed due to the dilapidated infrastructure.

Officials cut off natural gas and power supplies across the region as a precaution, and also closed schools for two weeks.

The UN cultural agency UNESCO expressed fears over heavy damage in two cities on its heritage list — Aleppo in Syria and Diyarbakir in Turkey.

At a jail holding mostly Islamic State group members in northwestern Syria, prisoners mutinied after the quakes, with at least 20 escaping, a source at the facility told AFP.

The United States, the European Union and Russia all immediately sent condolences and offers of help.

President Joe Biden promised his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the United States will send “any and all” aid needed to help recover from a devastating earthquake.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also offered to provide “the necessary assistance” to Turkey, whose combat drones are helping Kyiv fight the Russian invasion.

Chinese state media said on Tuesday that Beijing was sending rescuers, medical teams and other supplies.

Turkey is in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones.

The country’s last 7.8-magnitude tremor was in 1939, when 33,000 died in the eastern Erzincan province.

The Turkish region of Duzce suffered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1999, when more than 17,000 people died.

AIDING STATES LIKE LAGOS TO DELIVER GREAT RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE

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Through some intervention financing by the Buhari administration through the Central Bank, do you know that the Lagos State Government has successfully completed its Blue Rail Line project for intra-city train services?

It was graciously commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, after which he witnessed the signing of the contract between the Lagos State Government and CCECC for the second phase of railway line. This will ease transportation difficulties and create new jobs in Lagos.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE 50MW GAS-POWERED ELECTRICITY PLANT FOR BORNO STATE HAS GONE FAR

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Do you know that the Buhari administration has commenced the construction of an independent 50MW Gas-Powered electricity supply plant for Borno State and that the project is on track for speedy completion?

The project, which is being constructed by China Machinery Engineering Company (CMEC) and General Electric (GE), was conceived by the Buhari administration after insurgents destroyed national grid installations, and it is being financed by the NNPC. Sooner, Borno residents will enjoy uninterrupted power supply.

Yes, Nigeria is on track!

Group condemns suffering caused by naira, fuel scarcity

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*Tasks NLC, TUC to challenge govt.

The Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA), a socialist platform in Nigeria, has condemned the untold hardship Nigerians are going through due to what it described as President Muhammadu Buhari regime’s anti-people policies.

In a statement signed by its General Secretary, Aj. Dagga Tolar, the organization stated that “week after week, the mass of the people has continued to face one hardship or the other, ranging from queuing in the bank to withdraw their own money to queuing at the pump stations to get petrol.

“While this challenge has lasted for months now, the Buhari government did not feel bothered by the high level of hardship it has forced on the poor masses.”

According to Dagga Tolar, “The capitalist policies of this regime have further revealed the crises associated with the system. The country has been put into a state of chaos as a result of scarcity of cash due to the recent unnecessary and anti-poor policy of naira redesign and unavailability or hoarding of petrol which has continued for a period of four months.”

The organization described the response of the presidency to the current crisis as symptomatic of “the I don’t care body language and attitude of President Buhari towards the grave danger that these policies of his government pose to the survival of the general masses”, also expressed worries over the lack of interest of the labour leadership over the situation.

“The silence of the Labour unions has further emboldened the regime to continue to visit untold hardship on the Nigerian working people. We condemn the attitude Ayuba Wabba-led Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as shown in its comment that the union will not challenge the ongoing fuel crisis and the hike in prices under the guise of being tired of fighting for the price reduction.”

It, therefore, called on trade unions not to abandon their responsibility of defending the working class in the country.

It also urged both NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to place the Buhari regime on notice by commencing the mobilization of the working masses for an effective 48-hour warning general strike, demanding an end to the untold suffering imposed on the country which it said, has been made worse by the scarcity of petrol, which shot up prices of goods and services.