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N13bn Arms Deal: Ihejirika Quizzed Again, Granted Bail, Passport Seized |RN

ihejirika-

Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika

James Ojo; Molly Kilete, Abuja

Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, yesterday, returned to the investigative room of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further questioning in relation to the $2.1 billion arms procurement fund for the fight against insurgency in the North East approved by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration. 

Ihejirika was army chief from September 2010 to January 2014, a period when Boko Haram activities were high.

For over nine hours on Wednesday, Ihejirika was questioned by investigators allegedly based on the reports and recommendations of the presidential panel commissioned to audit defence equipment procurement by President Mohammadu Buhari.

The procurement was handled by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Yesterday’s probe was limited to scrutiny of documents Ihejirika was asked to bring, in addition to what he brought on Wednesday, it was learnt.

The former army chief was, however, granted administrative bail while his international passport was confiscated.   (The Sun)

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High-Level Corruption Still Rife In Nigeria – Sultan Of Sokoto |RN

SultanofSokoto Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Jama’atul Nasir Islam, Sa’ad Abubakar lll

 

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has said there is still high-level corruption in the country, noting that “we cannot continue with these negative things.”

The monarch, who doubles as the President-General of the Nigerian Council for Islamic Affairs, called on the Federal Government to fish out the killer herdsmen stigmatising the Fulani ethnic group, noting that there are millions of Fulani in the country including him who are not herdsmen.

The Sultan made these remarks at the public presentation of a book, Dynamics of Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences in Abuja.

The book was written in honour of the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, where the Sultan was the Royal Father of the day.

The Sultan said Nigeria no longer have statesmen but men of the state, adding that the government must find ways of getting things right in the country.

He said, “We have so many issues coming up in our polity today and I will just pick one. Nigeria is a country where we don’t celebrate innocent and honest people until after their death. After they are gone, you will now name universities, airports and other things after them.

“The issue of N36m being swallowed by a snake is a sad reality for our country. Where is our moral value; where is our ethics? The reality is that we must wake up from our sleep. Let us not fail further. Things are bad. Corruption is at a very high level and it is left for us to fight it to a terminal end.

“We cannot just sit down and think that things are okay. Things are not okay. We have to find ways of getting things right in this country. We cannot continue with these negative things. Nowadays and like I said recently in Rivers State, we don’t have statesmen; we have men of the state.”

The Sultan said it was unfair to label all Fulani as killers, noting that criminality must not be mixed with ethnicity.

He said, “We don’t accept criminals in our midst. We must fish them (the killer herdsmen) out and deal with them. The worst word you can hear nowadays is the Fulani issue. There are millions of Fulani who don’t even know what a cow is. I am a Fulani and I am not a herder. I am a proud Fulani. But everyone believes that when you see a Fulani, he is a killer. It is not true. So, for anyone to label any particular ethnicity is wrong. Let’s give criminals their ideal name; not Christian criminals, not Fulani criminals, not Muslim criminals. If the government has failed, let them call us to come and help out.

“Uthman Dan Fodio founded the caliphate many years ago. He said conscience is an open wound, only truth can heal it. We must take a negative inner feeling away from us. We must not allow our biases to prevail over truth.”

Speaking on the JAMB state officers being investigated for various cases of corruption, Oloyede said they had been asked to return the government’s money in their possession.

He said, “It is a continuous process. When anyone is found to be unable to account for whatever belongs to the government, our first duty is to ask the person to refund. If the person refunds honourably, there will be little or no need to go further. But if they refuse, we will take a necessary step of calling on the security agencies to recover whatever belongs to the government.

“But we know that there are many honourable people that even when they make mistakes, they are ready to rectify them. For these people, there is no problem.” (Punch)

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JUST IN: Pro Buhari Senator, Abdullahi Adamu Removed As Northern Senators’ Chairman

Abdullahi-adamu1

Senator Abdullahi Adamu

Northern Senators have sacked Senator Abdullahi Adamu as their chairman.

Senator Abdullahi Adamu was accused of mismanaging N70 million belonging to Northern senators.

Senator Wamakko Aliyu is now the new chairman.   (New Telegraph)

…More details later.

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Malabu Deal: AGF, Salami Slammed Over Letter To Buhari |The Republican News

abubakar-malami1

Attorney General Of The Federation,  Abubakar Salami

 

*Wants President to drop the case against Adoke, others for lack of evidence.

*Lawyers express the divergent views

*!AGF queries Magu, Keyamo overcharge against CCT chair

Doosuur Iwambe, and Myke Uzendu, Abuja

In what appears to be a confusion and lack of direction in the fight against corruption, a letter written by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to back off on his administration’s legal battles against the principal actors in the controversial Malabu Oil deal has sparked a row in the country.

While some lawyers backed Malami for exercising the power of nolle prosequi, (power to continue and terminate any case in court), some other lawyers described what the AGF did as contrary to the mantra of Buhari’s war against corruption and politicising the system.

Speaking during separate interviews with The Daily Times on Monday, the lawyers said that the development will far-reaching effect on the war against graft. The lawyers are Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN), Mr Femi Falana (SAN), Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mr Anthony Agbonlahor, Manny Ikpebe, Terhemen Ibeh and Hameed Jimoh. Speaking in a telephone interview, Ahamba (SAN), said: “I cannot comment on the propriety or otherwise of the action taken by the AGF. It is a professional matter and I don’t comment on issues that the facts are not before me.

“I don’t have details on Malabu oil except what I read in the newspapers. Those who ate the money are there and I don’t know why Malami has written to the president seeking to discontinue some of the cases. So whether he is wrong or right I cannot say for now.”

In his comment, Yusuf Ali (SAN), said: “As the Chief Law officer of the country, he is the only minister recognised by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and empowered to enter any matter and to either continue or terminate it.

“Malami should be commended for doing his job diligently. As the chief law officer of the land, the EFCC, ICPC, Police and any other prosecuting agencies are under him.

“The ideal thing is that all these prosecuting agencies when they have carried out their investigation ought to get necessary input from the office of the AGF.

“In other words, the office of the AGF ought to scrutinise the level of investigation by the agencies in order to ensure that they have a prima facie case that could be sustained in the courts because investigations are very crucial and germane in any case that is referred to court for adjudication.

“It is because this procedure is not usually followed, that is why you have cases thrown out. Once you do not have a good evidence to build up your case, it will be thrown out.

“Regarding the case of Malabu, Malami should be commended because he has done a good job. There is no point in engaging in endless litigations as it is obvious in the view of the AGF that there is no prima facie case on Malabu matter”.

Falana said, “ Instead of writing to the president or issuing queries, the AGF should exercise his powers under section 174 of the Constitution by filing nolle prosequi to terminate the criminal proceedings if he is sure that the EFCC has abused the prosecutorial powers of the state.”

Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi, in his reaction, said: ” From what we know from the facts of the case as presented to the public, this will be one of few that will not bring the voices on the government to congruence at the confluence of our large rivers (of justice).

“I expect water ran against its course with PDP perhaps hailing it, and Puritans bemoaning it. I am constrained on this occasion to side with the AGF. I could see no probable cause other than impugning acts of state; undermining the office of the President and treating the kicks of the slaughtered cow as tremors of a quake.

“Pressing on would have meant no international or domestic government, business, or person should trust the executive acts of the President, supported by various ministers and agencies of the state. It is a sad narrative that EFFC is unable to see the wood for the trees, and in what appears to be a quest for enemy’s fall rather than blind cause of justice, EFFC was blinded in the glare of the sun of justice as it came out of the darkroom unprepared as a true independent non-partisan Puritan warrior. If only EFFC has seen the signals.”

For Ozekhome (SAN), “That is how it should be. The AGF is the chief law officer for the whole country. He is supposed to be a prosecutor and not persecutor under section 174 of the 1999 Constitution. Once he finds that a case lacks certain ingredients to sustain its prosecutor, he should do the needful by discontinuing it, rather than get humiliated in open court.”

Anthony Agbonlahor in his contribution called on the AGF to use his powers appropriately. He said even though the constitution has empowered the AGF to enter the power of nolle prosequi, the powers should not be abused most especially by a government that came on board with the mantra of fighting corruption.

But Manny Ikpebe wondered why the AGF did not write directly to the court of whatever his intention was.

He said, “If the AGF had intended to enter a nolle prosequi, the letter would have been sent to the court directly and not the president.

“If the said letter was directed to the court, it won’t have raised any question because that way; Nigerians will know that he is only exercising his power of nolle prosequi which requires no explanation but writing a letter to the president now brings him to the political terrain and politics and law at this stage do not go hand on hand.

“What he did is not good for the people and the image of the country at all because Nigerians want to see people presumed to be corrupt go through the process and sentenced accordingly but when you do not allow the process of law to go through completely, it will dampen the spirit of the people”.

For Terhemen Ibeh, nothing is wrong with what the AGF did.

He said: “Since the constitution has empowered him, he has no explanation for his action. The AGF is answerable to the president and is not out of context for him to inform him of his decision, hence the president is the Chief Executive Officer”.

In his view, Hameed Jimoh said that by virtue Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution and other judicial pronouncements, the AGF is empowered to exercise discretion to decide whether to send a letter for Presidential approval or to act without recourse to him on any matter before the court.

He said, “So, sending the letter the President is a discretionary act which no court can query or compel him to act in one way or the other.

“Only that it might be viewed that seeking President’s approval might just be to prove the degree of his loyalty to the President and might be political tactics.”

The Daily Times recalls that Malami had in the letter dated September 27, 2017, urged Buhari to back off on his administration’s legal battles against the principal actors in the controversial Malabu Oil deal.

The raging scandal over the OPL 245 oil block began in 2011 when the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration approved its purchase by Shell and Agip-Eni from Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd., a suspected briefcase firm with ties to Dan Etete, a convicted criminal who was Nigeria’s petroleum minister from 1995 to 1998.

The Jonathan administration officials who participated in the negotiation preceding the controversial sale of the massive oil block included former AGF, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) and Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was the former Minister of Petroleum.

Jonathan himself was named by investigators as being involved in the alleged fraud, but the former president strongly denies the charges.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been pursuing fraud and criminal conspiracy charges against Adoke, Mr Etete and their alleged accomplices since 2016. Adoke and Etete are at large while the anti-graft agency had repeatedly sought to fish them out.

In his letter to President Buhari, the AGF Malami said following due examination of the case files, he was able to determine that the EFCC has no significant evidence to prove its allegations of sharp practices against prominent players like Adoke, Diezani and others.

Meanwhile, the Al-Mushahid Initiative for Transparency and Accountability (AITA) has urged President Buhari to ignore the letter written to him by the AGF Malami, urging him to stop the legal battles against the principal actors in the controversial Malabu Oil deal.

President of AITA, Ambassador Aminu Abubakar Majidadi, who was reacting to a letter asking President Buhari to stop the prosecution of Diezani and Adoke over their roles in the controversial Malabu oil deal, said that everybody close to the president should encourage him to bring the prosecution to its logical end. Majidadi said it is untenable for anyone to ask the President to hands off this international case when everyone especially those working with this administration should be seen at the forefront of helping the President to achieve his anti-corruption war.

He said, “We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore this letter but should rather redouble the efforts at seeing this case to its logical conclusion in the interest of national development and honour. This should even be a yard-stick to tackle other dragging corruption cases.”

He also called for special anti-corruption tribunals to fast-track stolen fund recovery and successful prosecution of corruption cases.

In a related development, the strained relationship between the AGF Malami and the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, deepened on Monday as Malami queried Magu over the criminal charge filed against the Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Yakubu Umar.

The AGF also asked Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN) to explain his role over the two-count corruption charge filed before an Abuja High Court against the CCT Chairman.

In the query dated February 16, 2018, and with Reference No DPP/ADV: 368/15 signed by Mr Dayo Apata, the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Magu has been asked to make his response available to the AGF on or before Tuesday (today).

Magu is asked to explain what informed the filing of corruption charges against the tribunal chairman after the EFCC had twice cleared Umar of the corruption allegation.

The query titled “FRN VS Danladi Umar (CR/109/18) request for Briefing” read thus: “The attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation was drawn to the news report that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed charges of corruption against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Hon. Justice Danladi Umar, before the FCT High Court.

“I am directed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to seek clarification from you as to whether the charges were filed on your instruction or directive and if in the affirmative, what is the compelling basis for doing so. This clarification becomes imperative in view of the following background facts.

“The Commission’s investigation report dated 5th March 2015 addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation stated as follows: “The facts as they are now against Justice Umar raised a mere suspicion and will therefore not be sufficient to successfully prosecute for the defence.

“The Commission’s position in paragraph 2(a) above was also maintained and sustained by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation while appearing before the House of Representatives’ Investigative Committee sometimes in 2015 to the effect that report of investigations showed that the allegations against Hon. Justice Danladi Umar were based on mere suspicions.

“In view of the foregoing, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation requests for your prompt briefing as to the existence of new facts which are contrary to the position in your attached investigation report, sufficient evidence or other developments upon which the prosecution of Hon. Justice Danladi can be successfully based.

“Kindly accord this letter top priority while your prompt response within 48 hours from the receipt of same is required in the circumstances.”

Also, in a separate letter to Keyamo (SAN), the AGF asked the lawyer who was purportedly engaged by Magu to prosecute the CCT boss to confirm who authorised him to file the corruption charge against Umar.

Keyamo was also given till Tuesday (today) to furnish the Office of the AGF in writing the detail of who engaged or issued him with authority to file the corruption charges.

The letter to Keyamo with reference No DPP/ADV: 369/15 dated February 16, 2018, which was also signed by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, reads in part:

“The attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation was drawn to the news report that you have filed charges of corruption against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Hon. Justice Danladi Umar, before the FCT High Court.

“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation hereby requests that you kindly furnish this office with the details of the instruction or authorisation upon which you instituted the case under reference. Kindly accord this letter top priority while your prompt response on or before Tuesday, February 20, 2018, is solicited in this regard.”

Although the EFCC had in two separate letters it sent to the Federal Government through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in 2015 and 2016 cleared Umar of any wrongdoing in an alleged N10 million bribery allegation by Rasheed Taiwo Owolabi who is standing trial at the tribunal over false asset declaration, the Commission went ahead and charged the tribunal chairman.

It is instructive to note that Umar’s clearance was done by the former Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde in a letter reference No EFCC/EC/SGF/03/56 dated March 5, 2015, which exonerated the CCT boss.

The letter stated that “the facts as they are against Justice Umar raised a mere suspicion and will therefore not be sufficient to successfully prosecute for the offence.”

While the other EFCC’s letter stated that a further investigation in 2016 on the N10m bribery revealed that it remained a mere suspicion.

The EFCC report received by the office of SGF on March 6, 2015, was categorical that “the facts as they are against Justice Umar raised a mere suspicion and will therefore not be sufficient to successfully prosecute for the offence.”

The EFCC’s second report with reference EFCC/P/HRU/688/V30/99 dated April 20, 2016, and submitted to the SGF and signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Emmanuel Adegboyega Aremo, read in part: “Kindly recall our correspondence of March 5 2015 with Reference EFCC/EC/SGF/03/56 with above subject caption. We will like to reiterate the Commission’s position in regard to this matter as earlier communicated to you and state that the allegation levelled against Justice Umar were merely suspicions and consequently insufficient to prosecute the offence.”

The EFCC had on February 2, 2018, brought a two-count charge against the CCT Chairman, Danladi Yakubu Umar, bordering on alleged receipt of N10m bribe from one Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo in the charge signed by Festus Keyamo as a private prosecuting counsel and one Offem Uket, an official of EFCC.

Umar was accused of receiving N1.8m through his Personal Assistant, Gambo Abdullahi, for a favour to be afterwards shown to the petitioner who was standing trial for a criminal offence before the tribunal.

Meanwhile, March 15 has been fixed for the arraignment of the CCT boss at the High Court of FCT, Abuja.     (Daily Times)

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Obasanjo Should Be In Jail, Sen. Adamu Hits Ex-president |The Republican News

By Chukwu David

 

Obasanjo-Adamu

Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Abdullahi Adamu

  • Buhari: We’ll sell all recovered stolen assets

President Buhari has not bothered to interrogate Obasanjo’s role in the Halliburton scandal for which some Americans are cooling their heels in jail. Perhaps Buhari might wish to look into the Siemens affairs in which the Obasanjo administration was indicted”

Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa West) has hit hard at former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying that the former Nigerian leader is supposed to be in prison for allegedly perpetrating monumental corruption in office.

Adamu, a former governor of Nasarawa State (199-2007) on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also faulted the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari. He described the ongoing anti-graft war as selective, and such informed the reason Obasanjo was not committed to prison.

“Were the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari total and blanket in nature, corrupt minded Nigerians like former President Olusegun Obasanjo is supposed to be cooling their feet in jail by now,” Adamu stated yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing.

The lawmaker, who was reacting to the recent letter issued by Obasanjo to Buhari on his performance in governance, said that he was in agreement with the former President’s submission that the anti-corruption war as presently being prosecuted, was selective, pointing out that Obasanjo was a beneficiary of the defective anti-corruption fight.

He said: “Chief Obasanjo said that President Buhari is selective in his anti-corruption war. I agree with him because if the President were not selective, Chief Obasanjo himself would be in the dock today on trial on charges of corruption arising from the corrupt practices in the pursuit of his third term gambit in the National Assembly in 2006.

“He (Obasanjo) knows as well as I and other leading members of the PDP he badly wanted it and initiated the process of constitutional amendment. He bribed each member of the National Assembly who signed to support the amendment, with the whopping sum of N50 million.

“The fresh mint money was taken in its original boxes presumably from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and distributed among the legislators. “The money was not his, and it was not appropriated by the National Assembly as required by law. I, therefore, agree that in failing to make former President Obasanjo account for the money, President Buhari is waging his anti-corruption war selectively.

“Nor should we forget that President Buhari has also not bothered to interrogate Obasanjo’s role in the Halliburton scandal for which some Americans are cooling their heels in jail. Perhaps President Buhari might wish to look into the Siemens affairs in which the Obasanjo administration was indicted.”

Adamu, who was governor of Nasarawa State under Obasanjo, also discountenanced the former president’s low marks for Buhari’s government on economy and security, declaring that Buhari inherited most of the problems threatening the country, and not the making of his administration. “Every administration grapples with problems thrown at it by circumstances beyond its control. President Buhari inherited an economy that was unsteady on its feet.

“He also inherited the security problems such as Boko Haram, armed robberies and kidnappings. Yes, I agree that under his watch these problems should grow less, not more. But the solution to problems such as these is a slow and agonising process since he has no powers to simply make them disappear overnight,” he said.

The lawmaker, who was visibly infuriated, noted that Obasanjo nearly collapsed the system, claiming that his (Obasanjo’s) eight years in government almost ruined the hard-earned democratic governance in Nigeria as a result of self-delusion and messianic mentality.

His words: “He waged his anti-corruption in a manner intended to rubbish all our reserved institutions such as the courts and the National Assembly in a way to be the only Nigerian without palm oil on his hands. “The courts quaked over his unconstitutional rampage. Chief Obasanjo left our democracy in a lurch.

He was like a wrecking ball. In 2007, he alone decided his successor in office contrary to the rules of the game, the repercussions and consequences of which are now history.” He further posited that the coalition Obasanjo started nurturing would not fly, saying that it would end as an exercise in political deception, stressing that if he didn’t desist from certain behavioural tendencies, he would end up being a national nuisance and irrelevant figure.

“His coalition for Nigeria is a red herring across the path of our constitutional government. He is free to form a political movement and pursue his ambition of being the power behind the throne, but such a national movement would achieve no discernible purpose in the economic management and the social administration of the country.

“I believe that Chief Obasanjo is too high and too big in the estimation of the people to permit himself the continued sickening indulgence in political skulduggery. I believe that the Nigerian people and the Nigerian state have been most kind to him.

“Chief Obasanjo has a moral obligation to make the country succeed in solving its myriads of problems. That, I believe, is one way he can give back to the country that has given him so much,” he stated.

He, however, said that similar reaction was not needed for the purported statement issued by former President Ibrahim Babangida since according to him, it was riddled with the controversy of genuineness.  (New Telegraph)

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We’ll Sell Every Recovered Stolen National Assets – Buhari |The Republican News

By Anule Emmanuel

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the Federal Government under his leadership will sell all recovered looted national assets. Buhari said proceeds of the recovered assets will be paid to the nation’s treasury and utilized for developmental purposes.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement yesterday, said Buhari disclosed this when he received representatives of social groups in Daura Emirate.

The President assured that his administration will continue to pursue a robust, effective and legitimate anti-corruption campaign that safeguards the treasury and commonwealth of all Nigerians.

Buhari noted that many suspected looters of government’s resources had been denying ownership of their ill-gotten properties and assets across the country. He explained that he was not surprised by the increasing number of those denying ownership or disclaiming the properties traced to them by the various anti-corruption agencies.

The President also said that his government would not allow a repeat of what happened in the 1980s when buildings and other ill-gotten property seized by his military administration were returned to corrupt officials following his ouster as Head of State.

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

“So, as a civil servant, you have 10 houses in Abuja and even in Kaduna and abroad, the more you show them the properties, the more they will swear that it does not belong to them. “And we are still following the process, you know in a democracy, you have to follow due process and respect the rule of law.

“If you are following, you will hear that some of these looters were arrested, and for those who deny their loots, then instead of what happened before, this time around, we will sell those stolen properties and the proceeds will be deposited in the government treasury. “If the money is in the government treasury, I will see who will come back after we left and reclaim them,” he said.

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

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

“We will also continue to reconstruct roads and railways and provide electricity and we promise we will continue to do so.” Buhari told the groups that the APC-led government will consolidate on the gains and monumental achievements in the development of infrastructure across the country. “For most ordinary Nigerians, if you give them good roads, railway and stable electric power, they will be happy to carry on with their lives.

“We are doing so much for our country and we will continue to do more out of the fear of God,” the President said. The groups represented at the meeting were the Daura Emirate Coalition of Associations; the Amalgamation of Daura Emirate Political Associations; the Buhari Group; the Daura Emirate Development Forum; Women in Politics in Daura Emirate and the Daura Emirate Consultative Forum. (New Telegraph)

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Fight On Corruption Will Be Sustained Until New Image Created – Buhari |RN

APC-Governors-visit-Buhari-in-Daura

Uche Usim, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, assured that the ongoing war against corruption will be fiercely sustained until a new image of the country is created.

Speaking at the opening of the first Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), in Abuja, the President, who was represented by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said his administration was determined to make the Nigerian business environment very conducive and attractive to local, regional and global investors.

He added that some Executive Orders bordering on ease of doing business were recently signed to make the Nigerian business climate soothing and investment friendly.

President Buhari described the summit as ‘a good platform to market the rich petroleum and gas resources of the country’, pointing out that his administration would continue to deploy new measures to grow the economy via foreign partnerships.

He applauded the organisers of the summit for modelling it after the popular Offshore Technological Conference (OTC) but localising it as the African Petroleum Technology and Business Conference (APTC).

“It is a very significant and has full government backing and it also represents a platform for global players to come to Africa. As a major component of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), the summit provides the linkage to the world.

“So, the war against corruption is continuing until there is a image of the country. Part of NIPS is to provide leadership for Africa. To make it one of the most important annual oil and gas summits. We’ll generate revenue and jobs. This will show Nigeria’s focus on oil, boost investors’ confidence, institutionalize reforms and galvanise Nigeria as leading oil player”, the President said.

He said his administration was committed to cleaner energy that is gas based, even as he urged participants to ensure the successful implementation of the resolutions reached at the summit.

In his remarks at the event, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu said NIPS has come to replace OTC, lamenting that the latter had become an annual jamboree for government officials.

“For OTC, we often have 400-500 delegates attending. Yet only a few of the attendees do the real business. It has become export of forex by Nigeria and good forex generation for the US. So, going forward, no government fund will be used to fund it. So, we have set up an African version of it to bring our African stakeholders together and forge ways forward. We need to bring investors here. To see what Africa has to offer.

“Our challenge is production of clean energy. Oil has got to provide jobs and power the country. We need to grow technically and improve human skills and become major investors in other Africas nations. We can export our works there just the like the banks have done.

“We have to move from 10 to 40 per cent investments in the sector. Already, we’ve changed funding mechanism in up stream. Egina, $15 billion, bonga potential $10 billion and in all, we will have $40 billion investments in the near future.

“We’re addressing restiveness in the Niger Delta region and we’re committed to getting our refineries working from the current 14 per cent to 95 per cent in 18-20 months time.

“NNPC has moved into competitive mode. It’s been freed up.

Also speaking at the event, the Secretary General of Oil Producing Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Barkindo, described the summit as very innovative, urging the Nigerian government to sustain it.   (The Sun)

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