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Buhari Receives Niger Republic’s Highest Award |The Republican News

Buhari conferred with highest award from Niger Republic

By Olalekan Adetayo


The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was on Tuesday conferred with the Niger Republic’s highest national honour, Grand Croix Des Ordre National Du Niger.

He was conferred with the honour by the country’s outgoing President, Mahamadou Issoufou.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled “President Buhari receives highest Niger Republic award, congratulates outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou on Mo Ibrahim prize.”

Adesina quoted the President as congratulating Issoufou for successful completion of his second tenure, and winning the prestigious 2020 Mo Ibrahim prize for Achievement in African Leadership, describing him as a worthy African leader.

He said Buhari felicitated with the outgoing leader for upholding the tenets of democracy, improving the economy of his country and consolidating the good relations that existed between both countries.

The President was quoted as saying that “Mr. President, let me start by congratulating you on the successful completion of your second term as President of our sister country, the Republic of Niger.

“I also congratulate the good people of Niger for the successful conduct of a free, fair and credible election.

“The achievements during your tenure as President have been widely acclaimed including through your recent award of the Mo Ibrahim Prize.

“You have earned the respect and affection of your people at home and your brethren across the border in Nigeria.”

Buhari said his first visit after swearing-in in 2015 was to Niger Republic, noting that the choice of a neighbouring country underscored the value and quality of relations between both countries.

“Nigeria-Niger relations are based on a long common border and shared cultural and historical roots. Relations between the two countries have, over the years, been very cordial and fraternal. There is a spirit of good neighbourliness between us.

“Nigeria’s borders with Niger have always been largely peaceful. There have been no serious border conflicts between the two countries.

“Each country has based its diplomatic relations upon non-interference in the internal affairs of the other. It is therefore gratifying to state that Niger has remained one of the most trusted and reliable neighbours of Nigeria,’’ the President added.

Buhari said the cultural similarity between both countries, which include common languages such as Hausa, Kanuri and Fulfude and a common border of one thousand five hundred (1500) kilometres, further strengthened good relations, adding that Nigeria and Niger “refused to be divided and alienated by the artificial borders imposed by the former colonial powers.’’

He said the emergence of President Issoufou in 2011 marked a watershed in the relationship between the two countries as the frontier of cooperation expanded and mutual trust further strengthened, while congratulating the President-elect, Mohamed Bazoum, for winning the elections.

The President urged the President-elect of Niger to build on the achievements of his predecessor in office.

“Many landmark projects were initiated and successfully executed, among which was the successful border re-demarcation exercise without any incident. The socio-economic partnership resulted in the ground-breaking ceremony of a railway project from the North West of Nigeria to Maradi in Niger, which is in furtherance of regional and continental integration, joint venture and inter-state trade.

“The military cooperation that has availed the Nigerian Intelligence community information on the activities of terrorists is additional evidence of this solidarity. It was against this backdrop that Niger agreed to become part of the multinational effort to tackle insurgents’ activities across the borders of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad Republics.

“As you know, this culminated in the establishment of the Multi-National Joint Task Force under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, with Sector 4 based in Diffa, Republic of Niger,’’ he said.

Buhari also said some of Nigeria’s prestigious military institutions like Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji and National War College, Abuja, and the Police Academy in Gwoza and Kano have provided training for the security officers of the neigbouring country.

In his remarks, President Issoufou thanked President Buhari and all Nigerians for the support he received as leader of his country for ten years, particularly during his time as Chairman of ECOWAS, describing Nigeria as a “second home’’.

The Nigerien President said the highest national award of his country was bestowed on President Buhari because of his “fraternity, vigour, patriotism and determination to move Africa forward, starting from the West Coast.’’

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the Nigerien President distinguished himself in leadership at both national and regional levels, leaving a legacy of avoiding the trap of altering the constitution to prolong his stay in office.

Onyeama said the Mo Ibrahim award was most deserved.

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Despite Criticism, FG Signs Nigeria-Niger Republic Rail Project MoU |The Republican News



In what looks like ignoring critics, the Federal Government on Monday announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mota-Engil Group for the construction of the $1.959bn Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail project.

EyewitnessMedia gathered that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, signed on behalf of the Federal Government, while the Managing Director, Mota-Engil, Antonio Gvoea, signed on behalf of the contracting firm.

The $1.96bn Kano-Maradi rail line connects Nigeria and Niger Republic.

The Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Eric Ojiekwe, said in a statement issued in Abuja that the new railway corridor, located in Northern Nigeria and Maradi in Niger Republic would run through three states.

He outlined the states as include Kano, Jigawa and Katsina, adding that it would go through the territory Niger Republic as far as Maradi.

“Other cities that will be affected by the rail line in Nigeria are Danbatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina and Jibiya,” the FMT said.

It added, “The 283.75km rail line, besides developing freight and passenger transport as it will be integrated with road transport, will make great contribution to the local economy.”

The ministry said the project would also contribute in developing the social sector.

It said the project duration was for 36 months and the contract type was engineering, procurement and construction.

The signing ceremony was also witnessed by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Magdalene Ajani; Director, Legal Services, Pius Oteh; Head of Legal, Mota-Engil Group, Cameron Beverley; and Magajin Garin Kano, Muhammad Wada; among others.

However, pan-Yoruba sociocultural group, Afenifere, kicked against the move, saying that with so much deficit in the country’s transport infrastructure, the government was headed the wrong direction with the rail project.

The Publicity Secretary of, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, told newsmen that many Nigerians were against the move by government to construct the rail line, adding that President Buhari was more interested in constructing a project outside Nigeria than in developing roads within Nigeria.

Odumakin said, “It is an unfortunate development. We know the state of Nigerian roads. We know that our roads are in a very bad shape, for instance, look at the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the roads to the East, to Port Harcourt and the rest of them.

“They are not Buhari’s priority; rather his priority now is the line to Maradi in Niger Republic. They are more interested in their kith and kin who are Fulanis outside Nigeria than in Nigeria itself.”

He added, “It is unfortunate. So the Afenifere and many other Nigerians out there are not in support of this initiative. In fact, how can we support it?”

A Public Affairs analyst, Bala Zakka, argued that it was more economical to decongest Apapa ports than to construct a rail line to its Niger counterpart.

He said, “It would make more sense if you construct a rail line out of Apapa to the hinterland so that trucks can be cleared from Apapa. It is better you take cargoes to Edo State or Osun State than everybody comes into Apapa.

“What would be beneficial to me as a Nigerian is to decongest Apapa via rail than going to Maradi. It is 10 times economical for you have railway out of Apapa to places out of Lagos. This will lead to development in other states.”

The analyst said that the government has continued to ignore the advice of technocrats, and the best time to have dealt with this issue was when it was still itemised for consideration. Zakka said what was left was to wait and see the effects of the policy.

Similarly, a professor of economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, advised the government to focus on cargo now that the deal had been signed.

He said, “Rail project is very important as part of the transport infrastructure. My only worry is that the government is more concerned about passengers than goods. Whereas it is better to have the rail constructed so it can move goods because moving goods via rail is very important.

“It is more important to consider trains that will move cargo which will decongest our roads.

“What the government has been doing has been light rail. Light rail cannot carry cargo and the government is doing light rail. The government must also make sure that whatever is spent on the project is recovered.”

The university don said the best way it can be recovered was via cargo operations. He asked that the government should do a rail for cargo which can be utilised for human beings and goods.

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PDP Rented Sokoto Crowd From Niger Republic, El-Rufai Alleges |RN

                                                   Atiku’s Sokoto rally

Olusola Fabiyi and  Godwin Isenyo

 

The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has alleged that the mammoth crowd that attended the Monday rally of the Peoples Democratic Party in Sokoto was rented from Niger Republic by the party.

El-Rufai, who made the allegation on Tuesday during the inauguration of the campaign council of the All Progressives Congress in Kaduna, said the PDP had nothing to offer Nigerians.

He described the PDP campaign inauguration in Sokoto as a gang-up of “thieves”.

El-Rufai said, “Thieves have ganged-up against President Muhammadu Buhari.  Yesterday, they were in Sokoto and they rented a crowd from Niger Republic just to show people that they have supporters because Sokoto people refused to come out.

“So, when it is time to launch President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in Kaduna, people should come for the whole world to see that, it is not Niger Republic people that are disguising as Nigerians.”

Speaking during the inauguration of the 69-member Kaduna APC Campaign Council, the governor noted that the 2019 General Elections were between patriotic leaders and those who went to Abuja to loot.

He said the APC government anchored its agenda on putting the people first, saying the government since 2015 had focused on running an “equal opportunity government.”

“We have tried to empower our people by anchoring our programmes on putting people first.

“We are making life better and reordering the priority of government to focus on human capital development.”

The governor claimed the APC government for the last three years had been fixing the rot the PDP left behind in its 16 years rule.

He added,  “The task in 2019 is to continue to work towards the uplift of our people. We cannot allow the people whose ideology is looting to return to power.

“The PDP has nothing to offer the people of Kaduna State and they have nothing to offer the rest of Nigeria. Over 16 years, they left most of our 4,250 primary schools in terribly bad conditions; many did not have toilets, roofs, windows or doors.”

‘El-Rufai, others created PDP crisis’

The PDP in its response accused El-Rufai and others of creating problems for the PDP while they were members of the party.

It said the rots created by the former minister at the Federal Capital Territory and others while in the party were being cleared by the National Working Committee of the party, led by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, who spoke with our correspondent on the allegations made by El-Rufai also dismissed the claim that the PDP imported people from Niger Republic for its North-West rally that held in Sokoto State on Monday.

He said it was sad that El-Rufai was now referring to the indigenes of the North-West who attended the rally as foreigners.

Ologbondiyan said the governor by his pronouncements had exposed the plan of the APC to allegedly import people from neighbouring countries to rig the general elections next year.

He said, “El-Rufai has exposed the plan of the APC to import foreigners for the forthcoming elections.

“He has spoken from the depth of his mind and unwillingly exposed the plan of his party and the Federal Government to bring in foreigners from Chad, Niger, Cameroun and even others, for the election.

“El-Rufai is callous.  These are the people that he and his party begged for support in 2015, but because hunger and poverty have made them to avoid the APC like a plague, they are now foreigners.

“That is fine. Let him know that the same foreigners will vote them out in 2019 with their authentic PVCs. They will use the PVCs to chase away hunger, poverty, killings, insecurity, favouritism and all forms of bad governance that El-Rufai and his party represent.”

On the claim that the PDP is populated by looters,  Ologbondiyan said, “This is ridiculous and funny. This same El-Rufai and others had their root in the PDP. He would not have even be known if not because the PDP brought him to limelight from obscurity and gave him appointments.

“The mess he and others like him created is what the Prince Uche Secondus -led NWC is clearing today.  Without the PDP, he would have been nowhere near the corridors of power.

“Anyway, since he has forgotten,  we will remind him. Here is a man who once described President Muhammadu Buhari as unelectable and not fit to rule. El-Rufai is a double agent. He is a fair weather friend. When Buhari is defeated next year, the man called El-Rufai will sing a new song.”    (Punch)

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INEC Registering Foreigners To Vote In 2019 – Southern, M’Belt Leaders

INEC-.-Prof.-Mahmood-Yakubu-takes-oath-of-office-as-INEC-Chairman-before-PMB

PIC.16. NEW INEC CHAIRMAN, PROF. MAHMOOD YAKUBU TAKING OATH BEFORE PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AT THE PRESIDENTIAL VILLA IN ABUJA ON MONDAY (9/11/15) 7076/09/11/2015/ICE/NAN

Friday Olokor, Eniola Akinkuotu, Okechukwu Nnodim and Olaleye Aluko

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum has raised the alarm that the Independent National Electoral Commission has embarked on the registration of foreigners,  especially from the Niger Republic,  to pave the way for electoral malpractices in 2019.

The forum, which stated this in a communiqué made available to journalists on Sunday, alleged that registration of foreigners could be one of the reasons why the Federal Government was in a haste to construct a rail from Kano, through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi in the Niger Republic.

The leaders from the Middle Belt, South-South, South-East and South-West had met in Lagos on Friday and issued the communiqué titled, “Our case against 2019 elections preparations” on Sunday.

The communiqué was signed by  Yinka Odumakin (South-West);   Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South);  Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South-East) and Dr Isuwa Dogo ( Middle Belt).

The leaders, who expressed concern about the 2019 general elections, restated their demand for the suspension of the current Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, pending the investigation of the underage voter scandal in Kano.

They restated their lack of confidence in the INEC chairman “whose conduct over the scandal of underage voters in Kano has shown a gross betrayal of public trust.”

The leaders alleged that intelligence report at their disposal had shown that INEC was registering Nigeriens and other foreigners for the purpose of voting in the 2019 elections.

They stated, “Equally worrisome is the intelligence report at our disposal that a large number of mercenary voters have been registered from neighbouring  countries especially from the Niger Republic under the continuous voter registration which could have been one of the reasons why the Federal Government is in a haste to construct a rail from Kano, through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic. Money has been appropriated for this in the 2018 budget.”

The leaders also recalled that the INEC chairman assured Nigerians that alleged underage voter scam in Kano would be fully investigated.

The forum also recalled that the INEC boss promised to look into the voter registers nationwide in order to purge them of any possible ineligible registrants.

According to them, Yakubu promised to make the findings of the investigation public.

They said, “Five clear months after the promise and prompt conclusion of the assignment by the team he set up, the INEC chairman has refused to release the report which would necessarily have necessitated a nationwide interrogation of the voter registry.

“Information at our disposal is that the report of the committee is so damning and that is the reason why he is doing a macabre dance on it. How on earth can we trust a man doing such over an issue of public knowledge to be fair on matters relating to free and fair elections that would not be in the public glare?

“We demand the immediate release of the INEC report on the Kano underage voter’s scandal and interrogation of the voter registry by a judicial commission with representatives from international and local elections observers to check cases of underage voters and foreign mercenaries before the 2019 elections. This is very necessary as INEC cannot be a judge in its own case.”

To ensure equity, they also demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari should “rejig the nation’s security apparatus now…and reconstitute the security apparatus so as to earn the confidence of all communities in Nigeria.”

Provide evidence, INEC challenges SMBFL

In his response, however, the INEC Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said anyone who had evidence should come forward.

He told one of our correspondents on the telephone that there was no cause for alarm since the voter registration would be displayed before Permanent Voter Cards would be issued.

Osaze-Uzzi said in the event that any alien was spotted on the voter register, he or she would immediately be removed.

The INEC director said, “If anyone is alleging that there is irregular registration, we display the register and they should furnish us with evidence of such illegality. If someone who is not entitled to be in the register is on the register, we will have the opportunity of removing that person.

“So, if they can furnish us with details, I think we will be able to properly look into it because the voter register is exclusively for eligible Nigerian citizens. If there are non-Nigerians on the register, they should help us by providing us with details such as location, pictures especially since there is an opportunity to do so when the register will be displayed next month.”

Allegations serious – TMG

But the Chairman of Transition Monitoring Group, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, in an interview with The PUNCH, said that the allegations of the leaders were serious and called on them to provide evidence.

She said, “The allegation on registration of mercenaries is a serious indictment. The TMG ad hoc observation has not revealed this development. We, therefore, call on the group to provide more evidence on this allegation…

“However, TMG opposes the call for suspension of INEC chairman, as an unnecessary demand. What we need now is to strengthen INEC and not distraction capable of truncating 2019 elections agenda.”

SERAP, CACOL demand FG’s investigation

Also,  two civil society organisations, the Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, asked the Federal Government to investigate the allegations of voter registration in the Niger Republic, noting that the groups must also come forward with pieces of evidence to their claims.

The SERAP Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “I hope that these groups are altruistic in their position and they are not raising the alarm for political purposes. If it is indeed true that such exists, we demand that 2019 elections must be free, fair and credible. Such elections start with the proper registration of voters.

“The Federal Government has to ensure that it looks into this matter immediately and see that nothing untoward happens to the electoral process. This is because if the 2015 election was not free and fair, President Muhammadu Buhari would not be the President of this country. So, what he must do is to ensure that the tradition of credible elections takes root in the country.”

Also, the CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “The authorities of INEC have meetings regularly and if there is anything suspicious, the groups ought to come forward with petitions. Otherwise, their claims will be like a storm in the teacup. They need to provide adequate witnesses and pieces of evidence. If such secret voter registration is ongoing, it is going to affect the whole country and this is not good for our electoral process. The groups must come forward with evidence and witnesses.”

Rail project not for such venture – NRC

But when contacted to comment on the rail allegation, the spokesperson for the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Mahmood Yakubu, said the NRC was not aware of such thing.

He said, “I am not a politician and don’t comment on political issues. I am a civil servant. You should contact the Minister of Transportation because I don’t have any idea about that as the NRC spokesperson.”   (Punch)

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Maryam Abacha University Earmarks N1bn For Infrastructure |The Republican News

Maryam Abacha varsity earmarks N1bn for infrastructure

 

President and Founder of Maryam Abacha American University of Niger Republic, Dr Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo yesterday said the management of the institution has set aside N1 billion for the construction of theatre halls, classrooms, administrative blocks and laboratories at the permanent site of the university.

Dr Adamu who stated this during a brief ceremony to mark the foundation of the permanent site said the university was fast growing in number, adding that there was the need to create a conducive environment for easy assimilation of knowledge.

He added that “the N1billion will also be used for the construction of lecture theatres, classrooms, administrative blocks and laboratories in the University.”

According to him, construction of the permanent site will boost economic activities in Jiratawa village, Maradi state, in the Niger Republic where the University is established.

Read also: Abacha’s $400m Loot: FG To Pay Switzerland $79m Commission |The Republican News

Dr Adamu said the management would provide state-of-art equipment, especially in the departments of health science and technological studies, adding that, “the management will provide all the infrastructural development at the permanent site in phases.

“The University pledges to lay a solid foundation and contribute its quota in the educational sector with the aim of strengthening the existing relationship between Niger and Nigeria.

Read also: Abacha Loot: Switzerland Returns $723m To Nigeria In 10 years

“The establishment of the University will bring the boosting of the socio-economic development of Niger Republic in general and the state of Maradi in particular,” he said.

Speaking at the event, the former Nigerian first lady, Maryam Abacha, thanked the management of the University for naming the institution after her, adding that the Abacha family of would continue to identify with programmers that would uplift the standard of living of the less privileged.

In her own remarks, the First Lady of Niger Republic, Mrs Malika Mahamadou Issoufou, congratulated Maryam Abacha University for its giant strides that recorded infrastructural and academic advancement within a short time of three years.

Read also: Why U.S. Is Still Holding $458m Abacha Loot, AGF

“This University, being the first English speaking University in the country will greatly compliment the broad and rich academic culture that already exists in the Niger Republic.

“The goals of University education are well known essentially as it includes the dissemination of Knowledge, teaching, research, training and production of needed manpower for the society,” she added.

She further pledged that the Niger Government would continue to give the university management maximum support in all areas that will ensure the growth of the institution and promote education in the country. (Punchng.com)

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