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Naira Crashes Further Against Dollar At Parallel Market |The Republican News

Naira-against-dollars

American Dollars and Nigerians Naira

The Naira on Thursday depreciated at the parallel market, exchanging at N368 to the dollar.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the Naira lost N4, compared to N364 traded on Wednesday, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N470 and N410 respectively.

At the Bureau De Change(BDC) window, the Naira was sold at N360 to the dollar, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N470 and N410, respectively.

Investors bought the dollar at N364.08 at the investors’ window, trading a total of 516.57 million dollars .

Traders said that demand for dollars for import needs were exerting undue pressures on the Naira.

NAN reports that many importers at the end of the year imported a lot of fairly used items into the country. (NAN)

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Travel Ban Will Cause Capital Flight, Push Economy Into Recession, Says Atiku |RN

  Former Vice-President Atiku abubakar, President Muhammadu Buhari

Niyi  Odebode, Olusola Fabiyi, Eniola Akinkuotu, Ade Adesomoju and Oladimeji Ramon

 

President Muhammadu Buhari’s travel ban on 50 Nigerians over the Executive Order 6, on Sunday attracted more condemnations.

The Peoples Democratic Party and the Coalition of United Political Parties had on Sunday slammed Buhari for the executive order, saying it was meant to cow opposition members.

But more Nigerians and groups including the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), the Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and a civil society group, Access to Justice, on Sunday lambasted the President, describing his action as draconian, clearly arbitrary, repressive and illegal.

Executive order’ll lead to capital flight, recession  – Atiku

Atiku, in a statement by his media office in Abuja, warned that the Executive Order which was recently signed by Buhari would lead to capital flight and another recession.

He also said that the statement by the Presidency banning 50 unnamed Nigerians from travelling out of the country, purportedly on the strength of Executive Order 6, was undemocratic.

He described the travel ban as another form of intimidation ahead of the 2019 elections. Atiku said he abhorred  any act of criminality, either financially or otherwise.

The presidential candidate, however,  warned that the rule of law must be the guide at all times or society would descend into anarchy.

He said it was wrong for the President to act under a mere suspicion that the suspects were  believed to have property overseas and were involved in tax dodging or other alleged financial infractions.

The statement partly read, “We must be unequivocal in saying that we abhor any act of criminality, financially or otherwise, but the rule of law must be our guide at all times or society will descend into anarchy.

“Thus, we find it most undemocratic that in a nation governed by the rule of law, a President who swore an oath to abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, does this.

“If past events are to be the judge, these 50 individuals will conveniently be critics and opponents of the Buhari administration.

“This is nothing short of intimidation ahead of the 2019 elections. This is what the Buhari administration did in Osun where they froze the accounts of the Adeleke family and then illegally and clandestinely paid N16.7bn to the Osun State Government to facilitate the daylight electoral robbery.”

The former Vice-President said “the Nigerian constitution guarantees every Nigerian citizen freedom of movement and freedom of association.”

This constitutional right, he added, could not be taken away except by a court order.

Atiku said, “If the Buhari administration wants to curtail the rights of Nigerians, then it must go to court and obtain a court order. Anything short of this is unconstitutional and extrajudicial.

“This sudden dictatorial act brings to mind President Buhari’s comments for which he was condemned by the international community and by the generality of Nigerians.

“While delivering an address at the annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association on August 26, 2018, President Buhari has said ‘where national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society.’

“That was not only a faulty interpretation of the constitution, the statement also betrays the dictatorial and authoritarian mindset of President Buhari because only he gets to decide who and what threatens national security.”

Atiku recalled Buhari’s Decree Number Two of 1984, which he said, criminalised truth telling if it did not please the President.

He said that the recent action of the President merely showed that “dictators can grow old, but they can’t grow into democrats.”

Atiku said, “Under the Buhari administration, Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented capital flight out of the nation to the extent that we are not even listed amongst the top 10 recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in Africa in the latest ranking by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

“It is salient to note that we were number one under the last Peoples Democratic Party administration.

“Funnily enough, the Buhari administration was unable to stop Abdulrasheed Maina, their financier, from leaving the country after he was illegally brought back by them and reinstated to the federal service with double promotion.

“It is precisely this type of draconian orders that have chased investors away from Nigeria and it is precisely why Nigerians will chase this recession-friendly government away from power on February 16, 2019, so we can begin the job of Getting Nigeria Working Again.”

Executive order targeted at opposition – Obasanjo coalition

On its part, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo lambasted the Buhari-led Federal Government for imposing a travel ban on 50 politically-exposed persons.

The CNM said this in a statement by its Director, Strategic communications, Akin Osuntokun, on Sunday.

According to the coalition, the ban, which was done in line with Executive Order 6, was a subversion of the rule of law, reminiscent of military decrees.

The CNM also described the new executive order as an attempt to muzzle the opposition.

The CNM said Buhari had been planning to use security agencies to achieve a hidden agenda hence his decision to compromise the nation’s security architecture.

The statement read in part, “Recall that journalists were jailed on account of a similar decree that criminalised any reporting that embarrassed his government. Against this background, what the Executive Order 6 portends is a significant step towards the creation of a police state.

“It is also against this background that the personalisation of the national security architecture makes sense. Otherwise, there would have been no need to continue to reinforce the lopsided and parochial subversion and subordination of the security agencies to a personality cult agenda, at every available opportunity.”

It’s counterproductive to FG’s anti-graft war – SERAP

Also, an anti-corruption advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, also condemned the travel ban, warning that it would be counterproductive to the government’s anti-corruption campaign.

The group, in a statement by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, contended that the ban was “clearly arbitrary, repressive and illegal,” demanding that the Federal Government should lift it immediately.

This was as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, argued that the travel ban was a usurpation of the power of the judiciary by the executive.

Ozekhome, who argued that the ban was targeted at the members of opposition political parties and voices critical of the Federal Government, described it as “an extreme panicky measure of desperation” by President Buhari ahead of the next year’s general elections.

SERAP, in its statement, argued that the travel ban violated both domestic and international laws that protect citizens’ human rights.

SERAP said, “The order banning 50 alleged high-profile corrupt Nigerians from travelling abroad without any legal basis and a judicial authorisation is clearly arbitrary, repressive and illegal, as it breaches constitutional rights and the country’s international obligations, which protect the rights to freedom of movement, to leave one’s country, to privacy, and to due process of law.

“Rather than performing its declared objective of preventing dissipation of stolen assets, the travel ban would seriously undermine the government’s expressed commitment to combat grand corruption and violate the country’s international human rights obligations.

“The travel ban will play right into the hands of high-profile corrupt officials by feeding into the narrative that the fight against corruption is targeted only at political opponents.”

On his own part, Ozekhome said the ban was a violation of the principle of separation of powers.

Falana, AJ ask Buhari to lift travel ban on 50 VIPs

Also,  a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), and a civil society group, Access to Justice, faulted the travel ban.

Falana in a statement asked the President to immediately withdraw the travel ban, but Access to Justice called for the total cancellation of the entire PEO6, which it argued “is unquestionably anti-democratic and a veiled snare for citizens’ rights.”

“The PEO is also a gratuitous piece of dangerous precedent that opens the door to an uncontrollable dictatorship; it can be used arbitrarily and vindictively to fight and muzzle political opposition, and promote wholly politically-partisan objectives,” the Director of Access to Justice, Mr. Joseph Otteh, added in a statement on Sunday.

In separate statements on Sunday, Falana and Access to Justice, said the executive order could not be the basis for preventing suspects from travelling.

Falana described the travel ban as “superfluous” because either the court or the various anti-corruption agencies had already seized the passports of the affected persons.

He added that it was an “ingenious design to expose the Buhari administration to ridicule.”

He said, “If the Federal Government had done some background check it would have discovered that the names of the 50 VIPs have long been placed on security watch list while their passports have been impounded by the anti-graft agencies or the courts as one of the conditions for admitting them to bail.

“It is public knowledge that whenever the defendants wish to travel abroad for medical treatment they usually apply for the interim release of their passports. Since the courts have taken judicial notice of the perilous state of medical facilities in the country such applications are usually granted.”

He called on President Buhari to immediately withdraw the ban.

He said, “For the umpteenth time, I am compelled to caution the Buhari administration to wage the war against the menace of corruption within the ambit of the rule of law.”

On its part, the Access to Justice, in rejecting the travel ban, called for the reversal of the PEO6 which it said could be vindictively used to fight and muzzle political opponents, and promote wholly politically-partisan objectives.

Otteh said in the statement that the judgment on which the Federal Government anchored the decision for the issuance of the travel ban, made it clear that the Attorney General of the Federation who is the coordinator of the implementation of the PEO6 could not deny owners access to their assets without a court order.

Its director said in a statement, “It is also legally warrantless; the government claims the judgment of Hon. Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on the case involving PEO 6, gives it authority to bar the named persons.

“This is so very untrue: the judgment clearly required the government to implement PEO 6 in a way that is consistent with the rule of law; the court ruled that the government (Attorney General) could not block, freeze or confiscate any funds or assets without an order of court! If the government cannot take property without an order of court, how could it legitimately bar persons (presumed innocent by the law), from exercising their rights to liberty and movement without an order of court?

“Access to Justice requests the Federal Government to immediately rescind this obnoxious Executive Order.

“In its stead, we ask for Presidential Executive Orders that mandate all persons and authorities, in line with the constitution, to obey all orders and judgments of courts immediately, release all persons ordered by courts to be set free, as well as pay reasonable living (minimum) wages to all workers!”

Why I don’t care about my travel ban – Fani-Kayode

However, a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, says he is not moved by the decision of the  Buhari-led government to bar him from travelling.

Fani-Kayode said in a statement that his passport had been with the courts and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission since 2008 thereby making it impossible for him to travel.

The ex-minister, however, said he pitied those who needed medical attention but had also been placed on the list of 50 persons not allowed to travel.

He said, “I could not give a damn that my name is on the list of 50 members of the opposition and prominent Nigerians that have been placed on a travel ban because nothing that Buhari does surprises me.

“I have not left Nigeria since 2008 because my passport has been with the EFCC and the courts for the last 10 years and they have refused to give it to me and allow me to travel. Those on the travel-ban list that need to travel abroad for medical attention or to see their loved ones are the ones I feel sorry for.

“For me, travel ban or no travel ban, I have no intention of leaving Nigeria anytime soon because I am one of those that will be on the forefront in the struggle to liberate our country and  ensure that we get Buhari out of power in the next few months.”

Fani-Kayode said Buhari had shown repeatedly that he was a despot and would do anything to muzzle the opposition in order to retain power.    (Punch)

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You Made Illicit Money, Buhari Campaign Team Replies Atiku |The Republican News

                                                    Festus Keyamo

…says President has run economy well

 

Eniola Akinkuotu

The Director of Media for the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), said Atiku made money through illegal means and cheating the system.

Keyamo said this during an interview with one of our correspondents on Tuesday.

He said Atiku was running private businesses as a customs officer in contravention of public service rules.

The senior advocate said Atiku’s only successful business was Integrated Logistics Services Nigeria Limited, popularly known as INTEL.

Keyamo said, “Firstly, the myth about Atiku’s business acumen is one of the biggest and fattest lies ever sold to Nigerians. He has never run a successful business. He only has one company, which is a cash cow through which he invests in other things and that company is known as INTELS.

“He acquired shares in INTELS in 1982 when he was still a customs officer which was in clear violation of the code of conduct for public officers where he acquired shares in a company that had something to do with the customs and government.

“The company is not run in a competitive manner but a monopolistic manner where all other persons are totally shut out. All governments in this country until now had been compromised by this company until now.”

He said Atiku’s university ran on public funds. He challenged Atiku to prove that the money used in running the institution was not government’s own.

Keyamo said the achievements recorded by the Obasanjo/Atiku administration were not extraordinary.

He said the boom in the telecommunications sector occasioned by the introduction of the GSM during the Obasanjo/Atiku era was not peculiar to Nigeria but happened simultaneously in many African countries.

The Buhari campaign director added that the debt forgiveness of $18bn under the Obasanjo was part of a mere G8 directive and was not limited to Nigeria.

Keyamo said although Buhari was not as rich as his opponent, the President had shown that he understood how to effectively run an economy.

The senior advocate added, “He has managed an economy effectively even in the time of economic recession occasioned by a terrible crash in oil prices. Under him, foreign reserves increased; he inspired investors to invest in critical infrastructure.

“He refused to retrench workers. He also released the biggest money so far for capital projects. In 2016, he released N1.2tn in capital releases and in 2017 they released N1.5tn despite an economic recession.”   (Punch)

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Minimum Wage: FG To Address Agitation For Increase |The Republican News

                                                  SGF, Boss Mustapha

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

 

The Federal Government on Sunday said it would soon address the agitation for the upward review of the national minimum wage in a manner that will make workers and all Nigerians smile.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, made the promise in his remarks at the 22nd Choir Anniversary of the Christ Apostolic Church, Living Water DCC Headquarters, Abuja, tagged “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

Mustapha, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary (General Services Office), Office of the SGF, Mr. Olusegun Adekunle, said the present administration was sensitive to the plight and wishes of the masses.

He said, “While this administration is determined to bring our nation to self-sufficiency and self-reliance, it is also sensitive to the plight and wishes of the Nigerian masses.

“I assure Nigerians that the recent agitation for upward review in the national minimum wage will soon be addressed in such a way that not only Nigerian workers will smile, but the entire nation will be better for it.”

Mustapha also admitted that Nigeria needed prayers and supports of churches at this time in the nation’s history more than any other time.

He said while government was working hard to address the nation’s challenges, the church should continue to assist the government with prayers.

The SGF added, “As I sincerely appreciate your prayers of the past which have helped us this far, I wish to reiterate that this government, more than ever before, needs the prayers and support of churches and well-meaning citizens.

“I, therefore, call on the church to add more oil to its lamp of prayer and praise while government is working hard to perfect on restoration of security, peace and economic prosperity.

“I have no doubt that with the indomitable weapons of prayer and praise like what we are gathering here today to do, the walls of corruption, insecurity and economic challenges will be brought down and our nation shall possess its possessions.”

Mustapha also urged Christians to take part actively in the forthcoming elections by getting their Permanent Voter Cards and voting for leaders of their choice.

He said if they failed to elect leaders of their choice, others would elect their choices to lead them.

“The Church is not expected to sit back or fold their arms and watch others elect leaders for them.

“I call on all believers to rise to their constitutional responsibilities as patriots during the forthcoming general elections and exercise their franchise.

“If you don’t go out to elect the leader of your choice, others will elect theirs to lead you,” he added.

Pastor Ifiok Abia, in his sermon titled ‘The accomplishment of praise and worship,’ assured Christians that as they sang praises to God, the host of heaven would defend the country.

Abia expressed the conviction that the numerous vices currently bedevilling the country would soon be erased.   (Punch)

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NNPC, NPA, FIRS, Others Failed To Remit N526bn, $21bn, Says NEC |RN

Maikanti-Baru-NNPC

NNPC boss, Dr Maikanti

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

Eighteen Federal Government’s revenue generating agencies failed to remit N526bn and $21bn into the Federation Account between 2010 and June 2015, an audit commissioned by the National Economic Council has revealed.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has therefore recommended that the affected agencies be made to refund the money.

Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the NEC presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.

The council chaired by the Vice-President has all state governors, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and relevant ministers as members.

Dankwambo explained that the shortchanging by the agencies was detected by an audit firm, KPMG, which was contracted by the NEC to carry out a forensic audit of revenue remittances to the Federation Accounts by the NEC.

The governor listed the government agencies indicted of underpayment by the audit report to include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Nigerian Communications Commission.

Others are the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, among others.

Apart from refunding the money, Dankwambo said a sub-committee would be set up to look into the details of the infringement.

He said those found to be criminal in nature would be handed over to the Attorney General of the Federation for action.

The governor said, “KPMG presented the report of the technical audit of RGAs, concluding that a total sum of N526bn and $21 bn was underpaid to the Federation Account.

“NEC’s Ad-hoc Committee which I head with members including governors of Edo, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Lagos states and the finance minister recommended refund of the amounts underpaid.

“Council adopted the presentations and reports of the KPMG and the recommendations of its Ad-hoc Committee including a resolution to identify instances where there appears to have been criminal infringements and forward such to the Attorney General of the Federation and the Legal Committee of the National Economic Council for further action.

“Council resolved to pursue the strengthening of the NNPC’s governance structure to prevent further recurrence of such gross underpayment by the NNPC and other RGAs.”

The governor said it was resolved that the audit period is extended to June 2017.

“One of the resolutions of NEC is to extend the audit to June 2017. So the audit will continue for the remaining agencies.

“It is NNOC, NPDC, DPR, Customs, Federal Internal Revenue Services, NPA, Maritime Authorities, all the revenue generating agencies and the details of the infringement are contained in the report. It is a voluminous report; there are a lot of items that are there.

“The most important decision that was taken is that a sub-committee will be set up which will be an arm of the legal committee of NEC that will look into the details of these kinds of infringements and make sure that those issues that are criminal and require prosecution will be handled by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.”

Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said the issue of whether states should henceforth determine how much is paid as fuel subsidy and not NNPC came up at the meeting.

He, however, said a final decision on the matter would be taken at the next meeting.

He said, “We are doing the nitty-gritty with the NNPC in terms of remittances. Don’t forget that the reason we got it right in 2016 on the NNPC side was that the oil prices were too low. It was easy for everyone to get fuel into the country and then make their profit.

“So, when the price started jacking up, then marketers started adjusting back because they needed to have a template of cost recovery and how they are going to make up the difference from the pump price to the landing cost of what they are importing.

“Our problem is the volume, the quantity of consumption which is not acceptable. Working with the governors, so many decisions were taken but by next month, we are going to adopt that position either for the governors to take responsibility for the subsidy in their states based on the consumption or we look at other ways.

“For instance, if you say we paid the N800bn subsidy, you will ask who are we paying the subsidy to? And if you look at the infrastructure development and capital programme of the Federal Government, it is about N1.1trn, almost 70 percent of what you are spending on developing the economy.

“If there is no infrastructure development, then you cannot talk about the development of the economy. N800bn is a huge amount that we must look at it, who is benefiting from it.

“So, we are coming up with a strategy; we are going to meet in the months of May and June. By next meeting, we will definitely come up with a position of the government at both the level of volume of what is being brought into the country and what the state and federal governments collaborate to check.”

Adeosun reported to the council that the balance in the Excess Crude Account as of May 14, 2018, stood at $1, 830, 682, 945.30.

She also reported to Council that the current balance in the Stabilisation Account as of the same day stood at N15, 725,456,963.83.

She put the balance in the Natural Resources Development Fund at N116, 104,644,763.39.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, gave an update to council on the just-concluded Economic Recovery Growth Plan Focus Labs.

Udoma told members that the Labs identified 164 projects spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

He said the outcome indicated that over 500,000 jobs were likely to be created by 2020 and that more labs would be conducted in due course for other sectors.  (Punch)

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Corruption War: Risky Fighting It, Too Risky To Keep Quiet – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Being conclusion of an interview with former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Continued from  yesterday

 Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Washington DC

Supporting someone who can’t go to school or who can’t get proper healthcare, do that that is also valid. But if you cannot do any of that and you want to help from the Diaspora, my suggestion to you is perhaps select an area of interest where you can contribute something that will change the way things are being done, lend your voice and when it comes to the time to vote, go home, register and vote.

The second government you served was criticized for presiding over corruption and if you situate that against a portion of your book where governor Duke coming to meet you say, ‘serving that government gave it some credibility.’ How did you find that moral compass to serve?

 I think people should go and read a book called ‘This Present Darkness’, it is a very dark book unfortunately and it Chronicles the history of Nigeria with corruption crime over many years. And unfortunately, almost every administration in the country has been accused of corruption, during the time they were in government, after the time they were in government. It’s been happening for years so it is nothing new that’s why the issue of how are we going to get rid of this, how are going to fight will always arise. Should we just keep having this or are some people going to put their neck on the line and say we are going to fight this. So under both presidents, this existed and they both had different styles. So it is not anything new but on the ground, some of the things we used to fight corruption are what I said after that regime and the following one were not continued and there was a need to try and come back and finish off that work.

I think when we were trying to get debt relief and we initiated the reforms during the Obasanjo administration, there were more visibility and more communication about the need to fight corruption. That was there and people at least knew that there was a signal about the fact that this was not acceptable and we were going to fight it.

One of the things you will read in the book is that I thought that the second time I went back under Jonathan’s administration, we didn’t communicate well enough. Nobody even knew that we were doing anything about it and that was a weakness. So if you can’t even talk about what we were doing, there was so many criticisms and attacks every day and we were drowning under that, we were not able to raise our voices and say by the way we are doing something about it, that is very practical to also fight against corruption. It was a weakness and I do admit that in this book. I think we should have been able to articulate more and say what was happening. And you will see that throughout the book not just in terms of the fight but in terms of the money saved.

I talked about a total of $9 billion saved, part of it was money averted when people came with a scam to get government guarantees in other to borrow. President Jonathan called me and we were able to meet with those people and after months of meeting, we were able to block that particular thing. You will read in the book that the same people went to Mozambique and they were able to persuade the minister of finance to sign and the government to take that loan and Mozambique is suffering from these loans till today. I’m talking about the Ematum tuna scandal. So I am not talking in the air, it is the same people. What if we had done that, that would have been $2 billion around our neck now. But we never talked about these things at the time.

In the fight against corruption you worked under two different presidents can you describe who among them gave you the greatest support in the reforms?

On the reforms, one of the things I am proud about is that some of the reforms that we started, the ones that really matter to me, those systems GIFSM, IPPIS, TSA are in place till today. We got them 75 percent complete, there were not 100 percent complete by the time I left still but it was now in an irreversible situation. And the IMF in fact visited and their report commended us for getting that far because the resistance was very grave. And the present government is building on it I think after an initial period when it wasn’t very clear which direction, they decided to use these systems and built on them and so that is one good signal.

On the question of superintending over corruption, yes many people asked the question, why you didn’t resign. These are very good questions and I tackled them in the book. I say this is a dilemma. I could easily have stayed, that is the easy answer. Don’t you ask yourself? Why was I going, why will I put myself through what I went through. It is so easy to do what you said, to let go. But when I talked to many people they are not willing to put themselves on the line or what happened to my family to put my family in danger. I didn’t know at the time that I was putting my family in danger obviously, I wouldn’t have consciously done that but I knew I was going to suffer some consequences.

But I went because it begins with you. If all of us say we are not going to do anything about it, I think there are times when resigning sends the correct signal or not going but there are times when it doesn’t work, you just have to go there and fight and do what you can. And then the efforts to prevent me from coming at all, the thing wasn’t meant to say anything other than just to set the context for the story when I talked about Donald Duke. He was conveying a message to me from people including people who said they were my friends telling me not to come. But when I asked why and you will see it in the book, they said so as not to give the government credibility. My feeling was that at some stage, you need to take a stand. And once I got there I actually saw that people were actively trying to get me to go and that is why I didn’t resign.

How do you see the judiciary in Nigeria supporting the efforts that people like have you made over the years? We don’t seem to believe that the judiciary is making the right contribution to fighting corruption. What else needs to be done?

We really need a strong judiciary there is absolutely no doubt about it. With strong and independent, well-resourced judiciary we are on our way. We have some independent institutions to safeguard the judiciary but are they strong enough? The answer I’m sure the members of the judiciary themselves will tell you is, no. So that is one of the tasks that we have. And like you said, there is some urgency in building institutions in our country if we are to successfully fight corruption.

We need a whole new set of actions working together but above all, we need people who are willing. If everybody runs away and stays in their nice safe corner, what happens? That is what the people who are corrupt want you to do by the way. They want you to stay away, they want you to resign, they want you run off and leave them to their devices and that was what led to all the attacks.

I remember a time when the army said and is in the book, that the ministry of finance was withholding resources and therefore they were not able to fight Boko Haram and it was in the papers. People in my ministry panicked and said you have to do something because that is a really serious charge. And I had to go out to the media and give all the figures of all we had disbursed. So, other people, not just me suffered a lot. So we have to be willing. If you don’t have willing people who are ready to fight, then you can’t even have the strengthening of the institutions.

I want to thank my family, my husband, friends, colleagues, people international community who really stretch above and beyond to constantly send messages of support, saying we are here for you. And if you are going to be engaging in these kinds of work, you need that backing. So one of the things I am passionate about is trying to see if we can find a way to build a more solid support for those who are trying to fight.

What is your take on Jonathan’s decision to concede defeat in 2015 after the presidential contest?

I am giving him credit. He had already made up his mind. We were there trying to whisper to him and talk to him but the man had decided that this is what he wanted to do. So he is the only one that deserves credit and I said that very clearly in my book. When he went to go and call Buhari and tell him congratulations we were all sitting there we didn’t even know when he left. We were still trying to persuade him but he deserves the credit himself, he had decided that was the right thing to do so he deserves the credit, not me, not anyone else.

Are you not afraid that these people can come after you with all the revelations in this book?

The revelations? But I am telling the truth. I have already told the world that this book is going to lead to all kinds of attacks. The same people who were attacking me when I was in government, who attacked me after I left government, the world knows about it. That is why I said it is risky to write the book but it is also risky to keep quiet because that is all we all do. People keep quiet they never say what happens and that gives cover to all these corrupt people and they continue to do what they do and to perpetuate the same practices that are keeping Nigeria behind. So is high time we spoke up and I want people to know truly what happened to me and also I want the international community to look at the lessons for fighting corruptions, it is not that easy. It is easy for the international community to say go and fight corruption but not being aware of what it entails, the fact that vested interest is not going to give up easily. So yes, of course, I think it is risky but is out there.

You did give a reason why you went back the second and third time, will you be willing to back again if called upon to serve?

I served the country for seven years; I think I’m the longest-serving finance minister in the country. Other people now have a chance to serve, I am doing what I adore, I am having fun and my work is valued in the international community. That is what I was doing before but I went to Nigeria out of love and I want to send the signal to Nigerian young people that if they actually love the country, they can serve without being corrupt.

They are actually people who serve because they think it is a national honour and duty, I felt it is an honour for my country to ask for my service and I was duty bound to serve. And I have done that, so now I am doing other things so that other people can also serve. On the special fund for those fighting corruption, the international community needs to come together and put together resources to support people who may not be well known, who are fighting. And we heard some many examples from different countries of people who had to flee because they were been intimidated and attacked when they tried to block the diversion of the monies and the stealing of money. And if people don’t have that signal that they can go somewhere and be protected, they will be less willing to do what is right and to fight. So we need that and there is a movement and people are interested.  (The Sun)

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Buhari Has Failed Nigerians, Should Not Seek Re-election – Falae |The Republican News

Olu-Falae

National Chairman of Social Democratic Party, Chief Olu Falae

Laide Raheem, Abeokuta

The National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Nigeria (SDP) Olu Falae has slammed the Buhari administration for failing Nigeria in the areas of security and the economy.

Falae, who bemoaned the continuous and wanton spate of killings around the country, said he had expected President Buhari to critically appraise the current situation in the country and declared he would not seek re-election in 2019.

He noted that, though the President is a good friend of his, he was duty-bound to point out any government that failed to protect the lives of its citizens, and that based on that President Buhari should be voted out of office.

False urged Nigerians to come together and do everything possible to ease out the APC-led government for the President’s sake and that of Nigeria.

The politician made the remarks in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital while fielding questions from newsmen, shortly after he emerged from a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Disclosing that he was in Abeokuta to see Obasanjo about the country’s state of affairs, Falae emphasised that Nigerians must unite in effecting the real change.

“I am here to visit Papa Olusegun Obasanjo, former head of military government and former president of Nigeria and who was my boss when I was the Permanent Secretary at the Presidency. I have to come to see him about the affairs of Nigeria.

“The affairs of Nigeria are greater than the political ambition of anybody. So I am here to exchange views with Baba Obasanjo on the affairs of Nigeria. Once upon a time between 1977 and 1979, I worked with him, he was the military Head of State and I was a permanent secretary working with him.  And we did many things in those days to advance the course of Nigeria and the way things are in Nigeria, I think should come back to see him, to exchange views with him to see whether we can make any contribution towards the elimination of the threat that we are now facing.

“You know and I know that the present government has not done well. The primary responsibility of government is to protect the lives of its citizens. This government is not doing so. People continued to be killed and slaughtered every night.
“Any government that cannot stop that has failed. President Buhari is my friend. Once upon a time, you will recall that I raised his hand at the Adamasingba Stadium in Ibadan asking people to vote for him because he said he would restructure Nigeria.
“So it is not a personal matter. The truth of the matter is that he has not done well and I was hoping that he himself will look at the situation as a very honest and right thinking person and do himself and us a favour by saying that in the light of what has happened and giving the state of affairs, he is not going to contest. That’s what I thought he would do but he didn’t do so.
“What I am taking away from here is a confirmation of the fact that most Nigerians are united in wanting a change for the better. In doing whatever is possible to ease out President Buhari for his own sake and for the sake of Nigeria.”

On a possible collaboration between Obasanjo’s CNM and SDP, Falae said: “I am sure that most, if not all, right thinking Nigerians would see the need for all of us to work together to ensure that there is a good, beneficial, peaceful and progressive change in Nigeria.”

“We need a change from massive unemployment which we have now.  A change from continuous harassment from the killing of people by Fulani herdsmen. A change from the fear and threat of Boko Haram. A change from a situation where farmers are afraid to go to their farms.  A change from the riots that are all over the place because of frustration and loss of hope. A change from the present situation of depression and failure and revival of the economy of Nigeria,” he stated.  (The Sun)

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