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.

Kano, UNICEF moves to ensure sustainability of GEP 3 project, transition of girl-child education

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As part of an effort to ensure the sustainability of the Girls’Education Project, GEP 3 Interventions in Kano State, the State Government in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF have inaugurated champions to ensure girl child education transition and sustainability of the GEP 3 Interventions in the state.

The champions comprise 8 key stakeholder members which include representatives from the state ministry of education, State Universal Basic Education, SUBEB, Traditional leaders, Civil Society Organizations, HILWA among others.

Speaking during the inauguration, UNICEF Lead Resource Person, Dr. Hafsat Yakasai identified obstacles such as security (sexual harrasment), access to school, and attitudinal perception as factors affecting the transition of the girl child in the state.

Dr. Yakasai however admonished the champions not to relent in their effort to address the menace in order to keep the girls in school.

According to her, “Quite a number of problems were highlighted ranging from access to schools, security (sexual harrasment), attitudinal perception on girl child among others as obstacles against girl child education.

“A number of solutions were proffered. So the essence is to reawaken them to the challenges against the girl child education and how they could ensure the transition of the girls to Secondary education. As champions, they should promote increased community commitment to improving adolescent girls transition to Secondary education. In most cases, girls do not transit after primary education or do not survive to the expected basic level of education that is required for them.

“They are to also through advocacies and campaign activities further sensitize the communities and all stakeholders about the importance and the need to continue to uphold girls child education in high esteem.

“And these meetings specifically provided them with a Terms of Reference, ToR to serve as a guide for them to know exactly what to do, where they were advised to continue working with HILWA to serve as role models for the girl child education for the girls to feel motivated to also go to school.

“To also work with the Girls for Girls, G4G, already established in schools because their girls have a significant level of knowledge of some of the causes why their peers are not in school. So working hand in hand with them will go a long way in acquiring success for the champions in the course of their work. And so, this meeting is part of sustainability activities to ensure key stakeholders at community level take charge of the key responsibility function UNICEF/Foreign Commonwealth Development Office have been facilitating,” Dr. Yakasai however stated.

Earlier, the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Danlami Hayyo called on the people to change their perception of the girl child education by ensuring their wards were enrolled in schools to acquire western education.

Hayyo represented by his Permanent Commissioner 1, Kabir Ahmad said the government have already commenced sustainability of the GEP 3 project with tremendous efforts to ensure the girls were enrolled in school.

“Take, for instance, the out-of-school children, those that left school due to one or two reasons, the govt through its policy on free and compulsory education has tried to address that. So you can see that some elements of the GEP 3 project, has been infused in so many govt activities,” Hayyo however stated.

Buhari appoints Umar-Sadiq as NSIA MD

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President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Mr. Aminu Umar-Sadiq as the new Managing Director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

This was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser, Media & Communications to the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget & National Planning, Mr. Tanko Abdullahi, last night.

According to him, the appointment followed the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Uche Orji.
He said, “The appointment of the new MD follows the expiration of the tenure of the erstwhile MD, Mr. Uche Orji, whose tenure expired on the 30th of September, 2022 after serving two five-year terms, following his appointment on 2nd October, 2012.”

Two Executive Directors were also appointed. They were: Mr. Kolawole Owodunni, Executive Director, and Mrs. Bisi Makoju , Executive Director, all of the NSIA.

Section 16(3) of the NSIA Establishment Act 2011 specifies that the Executive Nomination Committee (ENC) be constituted to begin the process of recruitment and selection process for the replacement of Mr. Orji, the MD, and the Executive Directors.

Aminu Umar-Sadiq, who is currently an Executive Director and Head of Infrastructure, has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering Sciences from University of Oxford (Saint John’s College), Oxford, United Kingdom (UK).
He is Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow (ATLF) and also Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF).

Umar-Sadiq commenced his professional career in Mergers and Acquisitions M&A) focused on Infrastructure and Energy at Morgan Stanley Investment Bank, proceeding to Infrastructure focused private equity at Denham Capital Management, all in the UK.

He has worked on several projects including Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, an import substitution program for the delivery of 1 million high quality, lower cost to farmers at lower cost metric tons of fertilizer. He was also a part of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, an investment fund focused on the actualisation of five strategic nationwide projects in the transportation and power sectors.

He has a vast experience in investment and infrastructure industry.

Mrs. Bisi Makoju is a Financial Expert with vast experience, in financial risk management, while Mr. Kolawole Owodunni is a professional of 18 years standing in the Financial Services Sector with emphasis in investment management, Risk Management and Treasury. They are all expected to help steer and transform the investment and infrastructure industry and propel the sector to a high pedestal.

2023 election: NNPP fumes over Kwankwaso’s description as spoiler

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The New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) has condemned the description of its 2023 presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, as a spoiler.

The National Secretary, Dipo Olayoku, issued a statement on Monday in Abuja.

Olayoku said an emergency meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) discussed some publications against Kwankwaso.

The spokesman noted that the NNPP discovered that some media reports were sponsored against the party.

Olayoku insists the former governor is the one to beat in the 2023 election and “cannot be a spoiler or a pretender”.

Olayoku said that other political parties and their candidates had made the NNPP candidate their target using the press.

“The report alleged that a chieftain of the party is a mole, working for another party and its presidential candidate.

“According to the report, this has placed the chieftain against Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.

“We consider these reports as the handiwork of fifth columnists who have been trying to cause disaffection in the party. They will never succeed”, the statement added.

NDLEA raids drug joints, arrests 121 suspects, seals 13 properties in Kaduna

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The State Kaduna state Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr Umar Adoro, on Monday, said its operatives have arrested 121 suspected drug traffickers, sealed 13 properties in Kaduna.

The Commander, Umar Adoro, in a statement, said the operation which was conducted in September, led to the destruction of 27 notorious drug joints across the 23 local government areas of the state.

He mentioned Kawo, Kabala Costain, Numba Zango, Zaria City, Sabon gari, Nupe street and Unguwar Muazu, Unguwar shanu, Maraban Jos, Dan Magaji, Hayin Banki and Kafanchan as the major joints for the illicit drugs outlets.

The commander further explained that out of the 121 suspects, 13 were females, adding that the drugs seized included 247,172kg Indian hemp, 0.041kg Cocaine, 0.004kg of heroin, 0.363kg of Tramadol, 74, 441kg Psychotropic substance and 0.001kg Methamphetamine.

He further gave the grand total weight of drugs seized as; 322,476kg within the period under review.

He appealed to citizens for timely and useful information on illicit drug dealers, to enable the agency to take prompt action, just as he advised parents and guardians to always be watchful of their wards on the friends they moved with all the time.

He said the war against drug trafficking and consumption would continue until it was brought to a standstill in the state.

Elect competent leaders, Northern groups urge voters

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A pressure group, under the aegis of the Coalition of Northern Groups, has advised electorates across the region to vote for leaders with competence, integrity and capacity that will address the challenges of the North and the country.

The National Coordinator of CNG, Jamilu Charanchi, handed the advice in Gombe Stare on Monday during a public sensitisation and awareness conference on the 2023 general elections.

The sensitisation was themed, ‘Politics of Sentiments, A Critical Factor Militating Development and Democracy in Nigeria’.

Charanchi said northerners and Nigerians must prioritise the interest of the region and nation above other political considerations that would not add value to the country.

According to him, Nigerians must jettison the temptation of voting across religious or tribal lines during the 2023 general elections.

He said that politics of sentiments was responsible for the challenges the country was facing, adding that politics along such sentiments had not benefitted the country.

The national coordinator called on voters in the country to rather focus on choosing solutions-oriented candidates, who would tackle the economic, security and other challenges of the country for the benefit of all citizens.

He said, “We want Nigerians to have a change of mind from voting based on religious and ethnic lines to voting in the interest of one united Nigeria where credibility, integrity and competence will take the centre stage.”

He stated that any politicians who use religion and ethnicity as tools to seek position was an enemy of the people and such candidates and their parties should be rejected.

On his part, the Gombe State coordinator of CNG, Muhammed Babaji, expressed optimism that the 2023 election would bring about a new dawn for the country, if Nigerians shunned violence and embraced peaceful elections.

Babaji appealed to youths from the North and Nigeria to remain committed to the tenets of true democracy that promotes unity, peace, development while praying that the elections would mark a new beginning for Nigeria.

Also, the Gombe State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mahid Abubakar, appealed to youths in the state to shun violence,while assisting security agencies to ensure peaceful conduct of the 2023 elections.

Abubakar said the security agencies remained committed to ensuring the peace and security of lives and property but “we need the cooperation of all stakeholders to succeed and make the state and country peaceful.”

Building collapse not ending soon, say project managers

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The Chartered Institute of Project Managers of Nigeria has raised concern over the menace of building collapse in the country.

The organisation warned that the trend would continue if the government refused to engage project managers in construction activities.

Building collapses are common in Nigeria where millions live in dilapidated structures and construction standards were often flouted.

Enforcement of safety regulations and use of shoddy materials have been highlighted after a high-rise building under construction collapsed in the Ikoyi District of Lagos, killing at least 45 people in 2021.

Ten people were killed when a three-storey building collapsed in the Ebute-Metta area of Lagos in May 2022.

The government had called for improved construction standards, describing the frequency of building collapses increasingly embarrassing.

An architect and a fellow of the CIPM, Otunba Dejo Olawoye, described Nigeria as a country with the highest number of abandoned projects in Africa.

He stated these on Friday in Abuja during the induction of about 100 members who were inducted into the CIPM, a statutory organisation, established to train, approve and discipline all project managers within the nation.

He said, “Nigeria is a country with the highest number of abandoned projects in Africa, maybe in the world. Most 65 per cent of the projects were started 20 years ago and never completed.

“Even the ones that were completed are the ones that were not well managed. It’s one thing to do projects, it’s another thing that its serves its purpose.

“In the last one year, there have been much more collapsed building than ever in Nigeria; this actually a failure of government engaging project managers.

“Project managers are the end of every projects that make sure that the project is done and benefits are coming from it.”

Speaking at event, the President/Chairman Governing Council of the Institute, Dr. Victoria Okoronkwo, said that events of the recent times had challenged the institute a great deal and in an unusual manner.

She said the CIPMN have decided to concentrate most of its valuable energies in seeking for ways to enhance value-added mandates to not just their members, but to the society at large, without focusing much on the negative tendencies and its consequential distractions.

Okoronkwo said that was aimed at becoming alive to the statutory mandates with a view to exploring available measures required to support the government in addressing the myriads of challenges bedeviling the overall project management value chain in Nigeria.

She cited obvious instances of continued building collapses in the country, efforts to repair the terminal at MM2 in Lagos International Airport, poor state of Nigeria roads and other capital projects across the country.

N3.92tn fuel subsidy topples defence, health, education budgets

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The N3.92tn spent as subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, from January 2020 to June 2022 is higher than the cumulative individual federal budgets for health, education and defence during the 30-month period.

Findings show that over the last 30 months, Nigeria has spent more on fuel subsidy than on either the health, defence or education ministries.

An analysis of petrol subsidy expenditure and ministerial budgets from January 2020 to the first half of 2022 indicated that while the Federal Government spent N3.92tn to subsidise PMS during the period, its budgets for education, health and defence during the same period were N2.28tn, N1.68tn and N3.06tn respectively.

This shows that the government spent more funds on petrol subsidy in the 30-month duration than what the health, education or defence sectors got in the same review period.

Further analysis showed that in 2020, the combined budgets of health, education and defence was N1.922tn, while fuel subsidy alone gulped N450bn.

Fuel subsidy spending, however, jumped in 2021 to N1.43tn, whereas the combined budgets for health, education and defence in that year were estimated at N2.288tn.

In the first six months of this year, the government spent N2.04tn on fuel subsidy, while the cumulative budgets for health, education and defence stood at N2.81tn.

Economists as well as oil and gas experts told our correspondent that the Nigerian fuel subsidy impact was not just taking a huge toll on education, health and defence, but wondered whose interest it was really serving.

They were not comfortable with the persistent rise in Nigeria’s fuel subsidy amidst the country’s high indebtedness and other economic challenges.

They explained that the fuel subsidy cost over the last 2.5 years represented a lost opportunity to invest in key capital resources to raise the literacy, standard of living and security of the average Nigerian.

“Nigeria’s fuel subsidy programme has continued to limit remittances to the Federal Account Allocation Committee by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited for distribution to the Federal Government, states and local government areas,” the President, Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, told our correspondent.

Analysts believe that many Nigerians are shouldering the cost of education, health and security through sundry private arrangements, while fuel subsidy offers zero succoure

They explained that a better incentivised workforce in the health, education and defence ministries was possible by realising savings from subsidy removal or reduction.

They also stated that civil service’s compensation and the national minimum wage remained a delicate topic as the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities underscored the need to address and lay to rest the civil service compensation and incentives conversation.

The PUNCH, for instance, exclusively reported recently that the Nigerian Economic Summit Group had raised concern of impending fiscal crisis in Nigeria following the continued rise in fuel subsidy.

It disclosed this in its September 2022 report titled, “The State of Nigeria’s Economy,” stressing that the Federal Government’s huge fuel subsidy spending had been a drain on the country’s revenue despite the rise in crude oil prices in 2022.

The NESG said the government should cut its fiscal deficit to avert an impending fiscal crisis, highlighting the gradual withdrawal of fuel subsidy as one of the measures to achieve this.

“Embark on the gradual phasing out of the fuel subsidy programme,” the economic think-tank told the Federal Government, stressing that sustaining the programme was “disastrous.”

It added, “Aside from taking a clear position on the fuel subsidy issue, the Federal Government must begin the shutting down phase of subsidy programmes to save the country from impending fiscal crisis.

“Understandably, this suggestion will affect the welfare of the citizens, but it is only in the short term. On the other hand, the more extended effects of sustaining this programme are disastrous.”

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprises, Dr. Muda Yusuf, stated that the government should accelerate the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

The PIA calls for the halt of petrol subsidy, but the government has not implemented that aspect of the Act after passing it into law since August last year.

“The oil and gas sector reform, which is now being anchored on the Petroleum Industry Act, should be accelerated in order to ensure the unlocking of the enormous value in the oil and gas sector, particularly the gas sector,” Yusuf stated in his remarks on the Nigerian economy after 62 years.

ThePunch

Why I want to be Kano governor: PDP guber candidate

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Muhammad Sadiq-Wali, the Kano State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says his main target is to restore the lost glory of the state, known as the centre for commerce.

He said this when he spoke with newsmen in Kano on Monday.

” Kano State is the private sector is driven and most of our citizens are very industries and we need to encourage them. All they need is support from the government.

“If given the mandate my administration will become economically independent and would promote small-scale businesses and local/indigenous industrialisation.

“This was how countries like China developed their economy,” he said.

He said that his administration would come up with policies that will promote local industries and encourage direct foreign investment for the betterment of the state.

He said that he will use his wealth of experience in the private sector to provide quality leadership to the people of the state as well as ensure economic growth through enhanced Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

“Any government that has the development of the state at heart prioritises infrastructure development in areas where commercial and business activities are booming, to make way for economic growth and increase the drive for revenue generation,” he said.

Sadiq-Wali said that infrastructure such as roads has continued to dilapidate in the state because of the increasing population in urban areas.

“We need to expand and build infrastructure in local areas where you have competitive opportunities,” he said.

He promised to ensure to reduce rural-urban migration to decongest the increasing population in the city and ensure development by building required infrastructure and industries in local areas where raw materials and human resources were available.

“My team agenda also includes Social Service Reforms, Civil service reform and education.

” It is all about re-orientation, re-focusing and making government for implementation, sustainability and wealth creation,” he said.

1,432 FG’s low-cost homes remain unsold in five states, says report

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A new report released by a civic organisation- Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI) has revealed that about 1,432 low-income homes across five states have remained unoccupied despite being completed.

This group also raised concern that despite N65 billion released to Family Homes Funds Limited (FHFL) between 2018 and 2020 to facilitate the development of affordable/social homes, most of them are yet to be subscribed by low-income earners.

The PLSI Executive Director, Olusegun Elemo, disclosed this while analysising the performance audit report on the management of resources for provision of affordable/social homes for low-income earners in Nigeria by Family Homes Funds Limited (2018-2020) in Delta, Kano, Ogun, Kaduna and Nasarawa States.

Elemo told newsmen in Abuja that the Federal Government in its bid to fulfill section 16 (2)(d) of the 1999 constitution as amended, stipulated that the government shall provide suitable and adequate shelter for all citizens, as well as the need to accelerate economic recovery through implementation of Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020 initiated by the Family Homes Funds Limited (FHFL) in 2016 as a special purpose vehicle to help address the housing shortage by delivering affordable homes nationwide.

This was followed with implementation of Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) 2020, which planned to provide 300,000 social homes yearly for low-income earners to address the over 22 million housing deficits with a yearly growth rate of 20per cent, according to Shelter Afrique, a Pan-African Real Estate Finance Institution.

He stated that a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) had indicated a deficit of over 17 million houses in Nigeria, and this requires about 700,000 new houses to be built yearly, compared to the less than 100,000 houses that are being constructed.

Similarly, the World Bank 2018 Report on Nigeria’s Affordable Housing Project revealed that the demand for affordable housing is huge and growing in the face of a sizable deficit and dearth of existing interventions that supports closing this gap.

The report further stated that macroeconomic conditions in Nigeria are the greatest impediments to affordable housing.

A seed capital of N500 billion was promised by the Federal Government for the provision of affordable/social homes for low-income earners, the government released N65 billion to FHFL between 2018 and 2020.

According to Elemo, despite the release of funds to FHFL to facilitate development of affordable/social homes, there are still visible challenges impeding acquisition of completed homes by low-income earners.

He said: “We have analysed the performance audit report on management of resources for the provision of affordable/social homes for low-income earners in Nigeria conducted by the Auditor-General for the Federation and highlighted challenges impeding acquisition of 1,432 homes built in five states.

“These challenges include the absence of need assessment by the FHFL, constraint with accessing completed homes due to lack of infrastructure and insufficient awareness creation for homes built among others.”

“PLSI will support the FHFL in mobilising buyers/off-takers within the target group of low-income earners to boost acquisition of homes built in Delta, Kano, Ogun, Kaduna and Nasarawa States.”

He called on the management of FHFL to improve on its efficiency and effectiveness in providing affordable/social homes to Nigerians.

Elemo urged FHFL to implement the recommendations offered by the Auditor-General for the Federation to address challenges hindering acquisition of homes built by low-income earners.

Mali, Libya Top Destinations For Nigerian Youth Migrants -NAPTIP

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The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has said Mali, Libya and the United Arab Emirate (UAE) are top on the list of countries Nigerians, especially the youths, migrate to.

The Director General NAPTIP, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, said this at the Nasrul-Lahi-I-Fatih Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) Youth Wing 2022 Global Youth Seminar (GYS), which had as its theme: ‘Japa Syndrome: The Pains and Gains’.

There was an essay competition in the event, which held in Abuja on Monday. Out of the 87 entries received, Adewale Abdullateef, a 21-year-old Chemical Engineering of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), emerged winner, while the duo of Oke Faidhat and Oshunkoya Ganiyu, came second and third respectively.

The NAPTIP boss, represented by AbdulGaniyu Abubakar, noted that migration usually happens due to a combination of push and pull factors and that from the NAPTIP data for five years, 2018-2022 show that Benin Republic, Burkina-Faso, Ivory-Coast, Ghana, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Niger-Republic, Oman, Saudi- Arabia, Sudan, Togo, UAE among other are very prominent.

The five-year data shows that Mali recorded 218; Libya 125, UAE 96, Benin Republic 76, Burkina Faso 63 and Ghana 60 among others.

Pains of the JAPA Syndrome.

While listing some gains of migration to include employment opportunities and tourism among others, she also listed some pains to include depletion of the labor force in the country of origin, high incidence of Irregular Migration not only in Nigeria but the world over; risk of human trafficking; and increase in the number refugees and asylum seekers in the destination countries among others.

Also, the National Youth Secretary of NASFAT, Alhaji Kabir Raji, said that the third edition of seminar was to address the challenges of brain drain (JAPA Syndrome), legal and illegal migration of Nigerian youth from the country and proffering possible solutions to those charged with governance and the citizens.