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Nigeria Remains Better As One, Says Osinbajo |The Republican News

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

From: Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday, said that Nigeria’s unity remains non-negotiable. According to the Osinbajo, the country is and would remain better of as one nation than divided. He insisted that dividing the country into different entities across ethnic lines would serve no one any good.

Osinbajo spoke in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capiral, during the solemnisation of his Chief Detail, Ekene Nelson Nwokoro and his wife, Ngozi, at the Pastoral Centre of the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki.

The Vice President noted that the country was a great country and has everything in it to provide for the people. It was also a wedding involving another couple, Stella Awoke and her hubby, Peter Nwenyi.

Osinbajo also opined that the country is better together, stronger together than separating but identified corruption as its only problem.

“This country is better together, stronger together than separating. There is nothing that we will gain by being separated. The countries around us are all tiny countries, very tiny countries. Rwanda which is celebrated in Africa, Lagos state alone is six times the economy of Rwanda. So, we are a great country and anybody who wants to separate us, we must reject the person because this country can provide for every one of us, it can carter for all of us.

“Our problem is corruption. If we check corruption in this country, there is more than enough for all of, more than enough. We should just bear it in mind that this country must remain a united country, we must stand together and as we go along, where there are difficulties, we must sit down and look at those difficulties, resolve them and move along as brothers. That is the way great countries developed. Let us come together, stay together and I want to thank his Excellency the Governor for his stand on the unity of the country” he said.

On the request by Governor Umahi for the Federal Government to construct railway that will pass through the South East, the Vice President said, “the Port Harcourt–Maidugari end of the road has been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and that will pass thorough Enugu, Abakaliki and Awka, the capital of Anambra State.”

“So, there is no question at that the railway will pass through Enugu, Abakaliki and Awka. So, there is no need to make that request because it has already been granted by Mr. President. The budget has been approved,” he said.

Osinbajo also lauded the agricultural policy of the Ebonyi State Government which he described as phenomenal and therefore promised that the federal government would support the state to realize its full agricultural potentials. This is even as he described Gov. Umahi as one of the bridge builders of federal government administration.

“We will do our best to support Ebonyi State. The progress Ebonyi State has made is phenomenal and it is what everyone in the country has the knowledge about. I listened to all that His Excellency has said about what Ebonyi state required and I want to say that there is very little we will not do for Ebonyi state” said he.

Earlier, Governor Umahi commended the Federal Government for support of the state. Present at the ceremony is the former Governor of the state, Chief Martin Elechi; Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; Mrs. Rachel Umahi; Sen. Sam Egwu and wife, Ukamaka; among others.  (The Sun)

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CAN Criticises Osinbajo, Says ‘Plot To Islamise Nigeria Is Real’ |The Republican News

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CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle

From: Fred Ezeh, Abuja

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has criticised the recent comment credited to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in which he reportedly said that the claim by CAN that President Muhammadu Buhari had secret plan to islamise Nigeria, was untrue.

Osinbajo was said to have, knowingly or unknowingly, discredited CAN in his avowed resolve to douse religious tension in Nigeria and win the heart of the government of President Buhari.

CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, in a statement, on Wednesday, said the Vice President might have been misinformed to take that position, stressing that the Vice President was obviously talking “tongue in cheeks”.

They challenged Osinbajo to always confirm his facts before speaking, particularly in fundamental issues that affect the peace and unity of Nigeria.

Ayokunle, in the statement, signed by his media aide, Bayo Oladeji, justified his claims with several commitments of the government to Organisation Of Islamic Countries (OIC) and other Islamic organisations.

“Our worry was that Nigeria is seriously active in international islamic alliances and organizations which is in total violation of the constitution. Regrettably, Osinbajo seems not conscious of it and the motive behind the recent adoption of the Sukkuk Bond.

“Then we ask, Is Sukkuk constitutional? Is it not part of the resolutions of OIC and IAO? Is it not part of Nigeria’s adoption of Islamic sharia and financial system that it is mandatory for all African government that subscribed to Islam?.

“We also ask why the present government joined Islamic Military Alliance against terrorism? Are we an Islamic nation to so do? Can’t Nigeria fight terrorism without joining Islamic coalition? Why would the government continue to consciously heat up the polity?

“We are obviously not opposed to Islamic evangelism by any Muslim group, if done with a peaceful motive. The Christians also exercise their constitutional rights to do so through revivals and gospel rallies. But we are opposed to the government of Nigeria adopting Islamic resolutions that are against the constitution.

The CAN, however, advised Osinbajo to use his good office to correct the imbalance in the Nigerian system and other alleged unconstitutional actions noted with the government in order to reduce tension in the polity.  (The Sun)

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Church Not Doing Enough On Corruption, Says Osinbajo |The Republican News

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Kingdom Summit 2017 of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), blamed the Church for not speaking out against corruption.

Osinbajo, who was at the Kings Court Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Sunday, remarked that corruption in the country still existed because the church had failed to speak against.

They failed to speak against graft simply because those involved in graft had relationships with them.

Osinbajo also urged Christians against putting tribe above other things.

He said that at creation, there was no difference in the nature of man and everyone related in an atmosphere devoid of a tribe or other differences.

“The canal nature of man is that he places his tribe above others but the only basis for the power and unity of the church is that there is no Jew or Gentile.’’

He also advised the faithful to avoid divisive issues as much as they did to foolish disputes.

Osinbajo added that it was wrong to seek vengeance as the gospel did not give Christians the power to harbour hatred.

According to him, when the disciple, Stephen, was killed, if the Apostles had retaliated, there would not have been the gospel.

“The gospel of the Lord says you must overcome evil with good.’’

He said God had a purpose for the Nigeria with the kind of persons in authority.

But he warned that the strategic position God had placed the leaders would be meaningless if they failed to live by the gospel.

“I am so pleased and happy and I believe that the Almighty God has a plan for our nation by putting us in strategic positions in politics, business and everywhere.

“But, the strategic positions He has placed us will have no effect unless we are prepared to live by the gospel.

“There is no wisdom of man that can change men or change nations; it is the power and wisdom of God that can,’’ he stated.

The vice president, who titled his remark “Neither Jew nor Gentile’’ noted that the gospel of the Lord was transformational, meant to turn the marketplace around by uniting God’s people.

According to him, the only way to transform the nation is to obey the gospel and to do so that citizens must free themselves from the canal and simply return to the gospel in their practices.

Osinbajo noted that sometimes people thought that God did not achieve His purpose in man because God’s gospel contradicted the purpose of man.

He said that many times, Christians interpreted the gospel to suit their purposes, which explained why it was easy for them to pray against their enemies that prayed for them.

“This canal nature cannot save us; we are completely different from God because the gospel is not a canal word,’’ he stated.

The vice president pointed out that the Bible was not just a book but the wisdom of God, which could not be trampled upon.

He noted that the power of the church lay in its unity.

He traced the history of creation where God made man in His own image, and that man fell apart because of sin, but salvation still came when Christ was born.

Osinbajo prayed for the country and the people and asked God to grant Nigerians faithfulness to Him and give everyone the grace to avoid every form of disunity. (NAN)

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I Did Not Approve NNPC Contracts But Loans, Says Osinbajo |Th Republican News

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

• Kachikwu: Issues raised in memo were not on fraud but governance

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo Thursday broke his silence on the notion that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the financing loans for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) when the president was receiving treatment in the United Kingdom and had handed over power to him as acting president, stating that he (Osinbajo) indeed gave approval to the joint venture financing loans in accordance with laid down procedure, but he did not approve contracts.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, had in a memo to Buhari, accused the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, of awarding contracts to the tune of $25 billion and making senior executive appointments in the corporation without due process and recourse to the board of NNPC which Kachikwu chairs.
However, in its response to the memo, NNPC had said all contract awards had followed due process and were approved by Buhari.
In its response, which was sanctioned by the president, NNPC went further to list contracts and joint venture financing loans approved by Buhari and provided the dates of approval.
But the dates provided in the response by NNPC on when the so-called contracts/joint venture loans were approved raised a red flag when it was pointed out by online new medium Premium Times that they coincided with the absence of Buhari who was away in the UK on health grounds and had constitutionally handed over to his deputy, Osinbajo.
When the red flag was raised, NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, rushed to clarify that the said financing loans approved for Shell and Chevron under the joint venture contracts at $1billion and $780 million respectively, were approved by Osinbajo in his capacity as acting president.
However, Osinbajo’s office initially kept mum on the controversy until Thursday when the vice-president’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, stated that Osinbajo approved the loans “after due diligence” had been complied with and in accordance with laid down rules and regulations.
Akande, in a series of tweets on his Twitter, handle @Akandeoj, said the approval Osinbajo gave was necessary as a measure to address the huge backlog of unpaid cash calls in NNPC.
According to the tweets, the huge backlog of unpaid cash calls was inherited by the current administration and the approval was meant to stimulate the required investments in oil and gas sector.
“In response to media inquiries on NNPC joint venture financing, VP Osinbajo as Ag. President approved recommendations after due diligence and adherence to established procedure.
“Action was necessary to deal with a huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which the Buhari administration inherited and also incentivise much needed fresh investments in oil and gas sector,” Akande tweeted.
Also, yet another statement from Akande last night, added: “Our attention has been drawn to some misleading reports suggesting that the vice-president approved certain procurement contracts for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“This is totally false, as the approvals referred to were actually for financing arrangements in replacement of the traditional joint venture cash call obligations.
“In the statement of NNPC recently released in response to allegations made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, reference was made to various financing arrangements with NNPC’s joint venture partners, which were approved by the presidency under the current administration.
“There were three such loan financing arrangements made for: (i) NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture Project; (ii) NNPC/Chevron Accelerated Upstream Production Project; (iii) NNPC/Shell/Total/Agip Joint Venture Accelerated Upstream Production Project.
“While the first was approved by the president in person, the second and third were approved by the vice-president as acting president.
“The NNPC Act, Cap. N. 123, Laws of the Federation, (updated to 2010), authorises the corporation to borrow such sums as it may require in the exercise of its functions.
“Subsection (2) goes further to specify the only precondition: ‘The Corporation shall not, without the approval of the President, borrow any sum of money whereby the amount in aggregate outstanding on any loan or loans at any time exceeds such amounts as is for the time being specified by the President.’
“Furthermore, subsection (4) provides that ‘Where any sum required aforesaid – a. is to be in a currency other than Naira; and b. is to be borrowed by the Corporation otherwise than temporarily, the Corporation shall not borrow the sum without the prior approval of the President’.
“These financings are purely commercial loans obtained by NNPC and its joint venture partners, mainly from local and foreign banks, to perform their exploration and production activities.
“Repayments are also made out of revenues from the crude oil produced directly by the funded project. Unfortunately, they are being confused with contracts for goods and services.
“The alternative financing arrangements became necessary as the inability of the government to meet its cash call obligations had stalled further investments in the petroleum sector and reduced the country’s production capacity.”
Also, while answering questions from reporters after the ground-breaking of the multi-billion naira Bonny-Bodo road project in Bonny, Rivers State Thursday, the vice-president went into the semantics of the loans he approved by differentiating them from contracts, when he explained that the approvals he granted to the NNPC while he was acting president were for financing arrangements for the joint ventures between the corporation and international oil companies (IOCs), and not approvals for contracts.
He said: “These were financing loans. Of course, you know what the joint ventures are, with the lOCs like Chevron that has to procure.
“In some cases, NNPC and their joint venture partners have to secure loans and they needed the authorization to secure those loans while the president was away.
“The law actually provides for those authorizations. So I did grant two of them and those were presidential approvals, but they are specifically for financing joint ventures and they are loans, not contracts.”
Meanwhile, Kachikwu, who started the entire storm that has snowballed into who between the president and his deputy actually approved the loans for NNPC, has stated that his memo to Buhari did not border on fraud but on governance and on the best ways to move the oil and gas sector forward in the country.
He also expressed deep confidence in the president as a thorough, clean and meticulous leader whose interest is to better a lot of Nigerians.
Kachikwu, who stated this in Owerri, the Imo State capital while speaking on the third day of Nigerian content workshop organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), decried the misrepresentation by some Nigerians on the issues raised in his memo, stressing that no one was accused of committing fraud in the NNPC contract awards.
“The conversation has been largely misunderstood to border on fraud. It was not on fraud, but on governance and suggested ways to go about it. I think a lot of people got it wrong.
“People dwell much on issues of sensationalism and leave the main substance. I think I and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr Maikanti Baru are working together as Mr President has directed that we move forward,” he said.
According to the minister, “Mr President has urged the two of us to find ways of working together to remove doubt and rift. Mr President is a decent man and what he wants to achieve in this country is to leave a legacy for posterity.
“He is a sincere leader, so nobody should accuse him of engaging in fraud.”
He commended the management of NCDMB headed by its executive secretary, Mr Simbi Wakote, for promoting and enforcing Nigerian content in the oil and gas sector.
“NCDMB is blessed in terms of the quality of personnel in that parastatal. They have done well in ensuring that things move well in his area. Simbi has made the institution stronger and I congratulate you and your folks,” he said.
Kachikwu, however, observed that not much local content had been engaged in offshore oil and gas operations and enjoined the NCDMB to move in that direction.
He announced that by next year, the facilities in Port Harcourt and Kaduna would be available to train unskilled Nigerians to acquire skills in the oil and gas sector, adding that the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) and the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) would be responsible for the programme. (Thisday)

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Quit Notice: Igbo Lawyer Sues FG, IGP Demanding Arrest Of Arewa Youth Leaders, Others |RN

 

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Coalition of Arewa Youths

I, Barr. Vincent Egechukwu Obetta, Director STREETLAW AFRICA INC. on behalf of all Indigenes of the South East Zone of Nigeria resident in the Northern parts of Nigeria, (hereinafter referred to as Ndigbo resident in the North), hereby issue the following World Press Statement that:

 

  1. On 11/07/2017, I, on behalf of Ndigbo residents in the North, filed 3 suits at the Abuja Federal High Court (FHC) and ECOWAS Court respectively, comprising (a) A Motion for an Order of Mandamus of the FHC, compelling the Inspector General of Police (IGP), to arrest and prosecute WITHIN 7 DAYS, all such Persons led by one Alhaji Yerima Shettima under the aegis of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), who on 06/06/2017, issued a Treasonable Notice to Ndigbo in the North, to vacate the Region before the 01/10/2017, or else …. (b) A Fundamental Rights Enforcement Suit filed at the FHC, against Alh Yerima Shettima, the IGP and the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), to enforce the Fundamental Rights of Ndigbo in the North, to move freely throughout Nigeria, and to reside in any part thereof, as guaranteed them under Section 41(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended (c) A Fundamental Rights Enforcement Suit filed at the ECOWAS Court, against Alh Yerima Shettima, the IGP and the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), to enforce the Fundamental Right of Ndigbo in the North, to move freely throughout Nigeria, and to reside in any part thereof.
  2. I hereby put the above Respondents on Notice that if it pleases the Hon Court to grant the above Mandamus Order as prayed, and the IGP fails and neglects to comply with such Order of Mandamus of the FHC within the timeline thereon specified, I would have no other choice than to proceed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Holland, to press Criminal Charges against them, of Aiding and Abetting a second Genocide against the Ndigbo in the North, the first Genocide having taken place in 1966 with no one held to account in that regard, till date.
    My Criminal Suit for such second Genocide against Ndigbo in the North, will be filed against (i) Alh Yerima Shettima (ii) The IGP (iii) The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as the Chief Law Officer of Nigeria (iv) Prof Ango Abdullahi and (v) Prof Yemi Osinbajo as the Ag. President of Nigeria when the 06/06/2017 Threat of a second Genocide against Ndigbo in the North, was issued.
    The IGP, AGF and Prof Yemi Osinbajo would be charged before the ICC as above stated, for looking the other way, and deliberately failing / neglecting to arrest and prosecute Prof Ango Abdullahi, Alh. Yerima Shettima and his Group, etc, since the 06/06/2017 when this DESPICABLE Threat was issued against Ndigbo in the North; and thereby Aiding, Abetting, Condoning and Encouraging a second Genocide against Ndigbo in the North.

  3. Should it become necessary to proceed to the ICC due to a REFUSAL by the IGP to PROMPTLY comply with above Order of Mandamus, NOTHING will stop us from revisiting and pressing Charges at the said ICC, against ALL the Ringleaders of the 1966 Genocide against Ndigbo in the North.

  4. It has just been announced with cynical fanfare, that the above AYCF has ‘suspended’ its 6/6/17 ‘Quit Notice’ against Ndigbo in the North. I hereby wish to make it categorically clear that this so-called suspension of the Quit Notice CANNOT in law, extinguish the GRAVE OFFENCE committed by Alh Yerima and his Group against Ndigbo in the North, on 06/06/17. Alh. Yerima MUST be arrested and prosecuted alongside other Ring-Leaders of the AYCF, for their TREASONABLE THREAT against Ndigbo, to quit the North before the 01/10/2017. NOTHING short of such Arrest and Prosecution will suffice to settle above 3 Suits, as filed.

  5. It is no longer News that the cynical silence and manifest bias of the FGN and its Agencies since the 06/06/2017 when the Treasonable Threat against Ndigbo was issued, has encouraged and opened a floodgate of ‘Hate Speeches and Songs’ currently awash on the Internet.

  6. Ndigbo in the North and indeed all over Nigeria, have been the butt / victims of Cynicism, Oppression, Repression and Extreme Marginalization since the end of the Civil War on 15/01/1970. Ndigbo in the North have ever since, been serially and SEVERALLY attacked and massacred at the slightest pretext, by Northern Elements such as the Alh. Shettima’s AYCF.

  7. Irrespective of all above atrocities daily committed against Ndigbo in Nigeria, the latter have remained calm and focused on their Businesses and Enterprises, which have contributed in no small measure to the economic and social development of Nigeria; all what they get in return is daily Oppression, Repression, Extreme Marginalization and sometimes outright massacre in the hands of misguided elements in the North.

  8. Worse still, the FGN which Constitutional Duty it is to safeguard the lives and property of Ndigbo throughout the Federation, has consistently looked the other way in the face of all above atrocities, thereby aiding, abetting, condoning and encouraging same.

  9. The 1966 Massacre of Igbos in the North, was not only condoned, but was celebrated by the eminent Northerners who indeed gloated openly, over the gruesome event.

  10. The 1966 Genocide against Igbos in the North, has since the end of Civil War, been swept under the carpet to the extent that it has been banned by the FGN, from being mentioned in History Lessons in ALL Nigerian Schools. Furthermore, it is NOT even allowed to be mentioned in public and any such mention otherwise, is regarded by the Nigerian State, as Treason.

  11. Since 2015 when the Incumbent FGN came to power, the cries and agitations of Ndigbo against above Repression and Marginalization, have been equated to Treason against the State, to the extent that unarmed and defenseless civilians have been severally shot at and killed by Soldiers of the Nigerian Army especially at Onitsha, Anambra State.
    A recent Report issued by Amnesty International says that not less than 150 such unarmed and defenceless civilians have been shot at and killed by Soldiers of the Nigerian Army especially at Onitsha, since 2015.

  12. It is extremely distressing that coming out of all the recent discourse across the Federation, (which Discourse has been ignited by the ongoing Agitations by Ndigbo), Prof Yemi Osinbajo and ALL other eminent / elder Statesmen have obscenely remarked that in as much as Alh. Yerima Shettima’s Quit Notice to Ndigbo in the North is condemnable, the ongoing agitations by the same Ndigbo should STOP FORTHWITH.
    That is, they mean that the TREASON committed by Alh. Yerima Shettima on 06/06/2017 is a befitting Response to the agitations of Ndigbo, which agitations have since the end of the Civil War, been equated to Treason in any event.

  13. This ABSURD, NONSENSICAL, ILLOGICAL, EXTREMELY INSENSITIVE and IMMORAL position held as above by our elder Statesmen, is akin to positing that a child who is being pummeled and brutalized by his older sibling, can only be rescued from his assailant when he stops crying. That is, for as long as the pummeled child continues to cry, the Pummeling is justified and MUST continue!

  14. A Threat bordering on a flagrant violation of the Fundamental Rights of Ndigbo in the North, and a Notice to the latter, of the second Genocide against them should they fail to comply with such Threat, is regarded under the law as such Fundamental Right already violated, and the Genocide executed!

  15. Under the hallowed principle of ‘ubi jus ubi remedium,’ it is hard to see how the Agitations of an oppressed and marginalized people have violated the Rights of any other Nigerian in any manner whatsoever. On the other hand, the above Threat by Alh. Yerima Shettima and his Group CLEARLY violates the Fundamental Rights of Ndigbo in the North.
    Notwithstanding, the FGN has as above, perversely and consistently held that such Agitations constitute an act of Treason against the State, and therefore DESERVE to be met with Threats of Genocide and Expulsion from the North, by Alh. Shettima and his ilk.
    Gentlemen of the press, may I use this opportunity to thank the United Nations who issued a statement in Geneva on Friday calling on the FGN to immediately arrest members of the Arewa youth group.

  16. Finally, I hereby call on all men of good conscience all over the World (US President, UK Prime Minister, President of China Republic etc), to turn their much eagerly awaited attention to the above deplorable plight of Ndigbo in Nigeria, and bring their influence to bear, to save Ndigbo from IMMINENT ANNIHILATION from the surface of the earth! We Must not allow ugly history to repeat itself in this generation.
    LONG LIVE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!!!

SINGED: Vincent Egechukwu Obetta Esq.

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FG Spent N1.3trn On Capital Projects In 2016, Says Osinbajo |The Republican News

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Acting President Osinbajo handing over to President Buhari

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said on Monday that the Federal Government spent about N1.3 trillion on capital projects in 2016, the highest in the history of the country.

Osinbajo disclosed this at a plenary of the 2017 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Conference in Lagos with the theme, “African Business: Penetrating through Institution Building.”

The sub-theme of the plenary was “Conversations with the Vice President”, moderated by Miss Zain Asher, a CNN news anchor.

“The Federal Government spent about N1.3 trillion on capital projects in 2016, the highest in the history of the country. The power sector reform is also ongoing as it is one of the most important sectors in the country,” Osinbajo said.

Responding to Asher’s questions, Osinbajo said the administration had set a solid foundation for the nation’s economic recovery, which he described as the most important reform of the administration.

He said: “We were dealing with a mono-economy (relying on one major export or natural resource) and a financial industry that was essentially opaque. We have set a foundation for rebuilding the economy, creating the Single Treasury Account (TSA), monitoring government’s spending, modifying the tax system to be more efficient and implementing executive orders.”

According to the Vice President, the administration has also cleared what he described as a mess inherited from the previous administration.

On whether poor Nigerians in rural areas have felt the impact of the reforms, Osinbajo said diversification into agriculture had been embraced in most northern states with a lot of transformation.

“For the economy, we are going to see a tripling in the harvesting of rice, prosperity is returning to some states like Kebbi and Zamfara. In the rural areas where the highest level of poverty is experienced, there is a turnaround as the highest number of people who went for 2017 hajj are farmers.

“There is a lot of export of agricultural products; what we need to do is to engage in more value-added exports and we have quite a few investors,” Osinbajo told the conference.

He noted that the agricultural sector has witnessed hi-tech farming and investments with more people taking to farming.

The Vice President, who also spoke on the efforts of government in tackling corruption and laundering the country’s image, pointed out: “Government ownership of business encourages corruption. The more private-sector involvement in businesses, the more efficient the system will be and the less corrupt the system will be.

“We are currently working on a ‘one-government system’ to tackle bureaucracy. For example, if you need five different approvals from five government agencies, under this system communication with one agency is sufficient as all the agencies will liaise with one another.

“We have introduced technology in a lot of processes. For instance, company registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); the less human contact, the fewer incidences of corruption.

“We must punish offenders; there must be consequences for offenders. Fighting corruption is multi-sectoral and we have to work together. Convictions on corruption cases have been slow. From my experience as a former prosecutor, getting cases to court is slow; the system allows a lot of inefficiencies. We have to try cases efficiently and secure convictions so people can see the consequences of corruption.”

Osinbajo stressed the need for collaboration among the three arms of government to make the reforms a success.

On the initiative to get more wealthy Nigerians into the tax net, he said the government has introduced the “Beneficial Ownership Scheme” giving them a 90-day period of grace to disclose their property in order to pay tax or face the full wrath of the law.

“We have got quite a few wealthy Nigerians approach us to disclose what they own.”

Osinbajo noted that the global oil crisis had given rise to the promotion of the non-oil sector in the country, pointing out that all over the world, oil is losing its relevance, citing countries such as Japan, China and Britain that are looking for alternative sources of energy.  (The Sun)

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FG, States Agree On Special Courts For Hate Speech, Terrorism, Kidnapping |RN

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                                  Prof Yemi Osinbajo

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Federal and state governments have agreed to designate special courts for the purposes of prosecuting purveyors of hate speeches as well as suspected terrorists and kidnappers.

According to a statement in Abuja on Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, the decision was reached at a one-day National Security Retreat organised by the National Economic Council on Thursday.

The council, which is chaired by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has the 36 states governors, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as members.

Akande said the retreat discussed concerns about the delay in the nation’s criminal justice system and NEC members concluded that prompt action by law enforcement agencies was imperative.

In arriving at special courts for purveyors of hate speeches as well as suspected terrorists and kidnappers, he said it was resolved that the Federal Government would help states to develop a template for such courts.

He said, “NEC members urged prompt action in the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators of terrorist acts, kidnappings and purveyors of hate speeches.

“To facilitate this, the designation of special courts was also advocated and the consensus was that the judiciary and executive arms of the Federal and state governments will be working together to establish such courts.

“The Federal Government will also be helping states to develop a template on how such special courts would be established and managed.”

On the clamour for the state police, Akande said the conclusion was that policing the country and the entire law enforcement generally, could not effectively continue without devolving policing and law enforcement out to the states.

He, however, said it was noted that while the idea of state police required constitutional amendments, the Community Policing Model must be enforced now.

“We must enforce a model that democratises security in such a way as to include everyone in the process of protecting themselves, securing their own lives and the lives of people in their community.

“The simple advantage of the arrangement is that it would involve the ordinary citizen in ensuring his security and that of his community.

“It must involve all local leaders, all structures of civil society. And on every street, the police ought to have one or two persons who can contact the police at short notice,” Akande quoted Osinbajo as saying at the retreat held behind closed doors.

He explained that the roll-out of the Community Policing Programme was intended to enhance crime prevention and control, improve intelligence-gathering capabilities of the police and deliver quality and people-oriented policing.

He said the programme would involve the community partnering with the police to uncover and solve crimes through a process involving town hall meetings to assess security situation and security priorities of the communities, the performance of the police and the nature of the support the communities could provide to improve the quality of policing.

Akande said the issues about funding of security agencies and provision of equipment also featured in the discussion while NEC members agreed that funding was essential.

“It was however added that defence budget and funding for other security agencies of government always form some of the biggest components of the budget. Calls for greater accountability of the resources released were also made,” he said.

He disclosed that the council members also recognised the fact that herdsmen and farmers’ clashes were being caused by the problem of land use, which he noted, had taken ethnic and religious dimensions.

Akande said it was agreed that both the Federal and state governments should properly define the problems and shun the ethnoreligious construction of what was otherwise an economic challenge.

“NEC members stated that it would be useful to bring the different groups together — herdsmen and the farmers — to meet and discuss, and also work out some of the issues that concern them,” he added.

On agitations in parts of the country, he quoted Osinbajo as saying that notwithstanding Nigerians’ right to freedom of expression, the constitution could not be compromised.

“With respect to the ethnoreligious crisis and agitations, what we all seem to agree on is that while people have the right to express their views, those views must not compromise democracy and must not compromise the integrity of our nation.

“However a person chooses to express his views, the constitution cannot be compromised. That is why I have made a point about hate speech and that our national unity is important, it is crucial.

“Without national unity and territorial integrity of our nation, we won’t even be here let alone talking about it,” Osinbajo reportedly said.

Despite the security challenges in parts of the country, the Vice-President was also quoted as commending the nation’s security agencies. (Punchng.com)

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