Chief Of Army Staff, Chief Of Air Staff & Chief Of Naval Staff Meet In Aso Rock

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Buratai; the Chief Of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar and the Chief Of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Iba, held a meeting at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja this morning.

Although the reason for the visit to the presidential villa has not been stated. The military chiefs were sighted leaving the State House at about 9.00am. It is yet to be ascertained whether they met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, Maikanti Baru, group managing director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) and Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), are believed to have met the president, but pictures or videos of the meetings were not made public.

Buhari’s absence at key government functions has fuelled speculations about his health, with critics mounting pressure on him to step down.

It is not clear if he will be at Aso Rock mosque for Juma’at service today.

Recall that last week Friday, the president was absent in the mosque the only place Nigerians have been able to see him in the last three weeks.

Anti-Buhari Protesters Storms NASS In Solidarity With Saraki

Anti-Buhari protesters in support of Senate President Bukola Saraki on Thursday stormed National Assembly, asking the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Executive to allow Senate perform its duties.

They carried placards and banners to demand that charity should begin from Aso Villa.

One banner read: “Only fascist don’t want excesses checked by the legislature. Get rid of Executive “Grasscutters” First. Charity should begin from Aso Villa. #DontKillNASS”

Photo Credit:  Tunde Itodo

Buhari Inherited A Bad Economy, Made It Worse – Soludo

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, on Thursday said President Muhammadu Buhari had worsened the “very bad” economic situation he inherited when he assumed power in 2015. Soludo spoke at the ‘Big Ideas Podium’, a public policy debate organised by the African Heritage Institution in Enugu, where he canvassed what he termed a “citizens united” campaign by Nigerians to demand change and accountability from government at all levels.

Speaking on the theme of the debate, ‘Prognosis of the Nigerian Economy 2017’, Soludo said Nigeria was fast approaching the status of a failed state. The former apex bank chief noted that it would take nothing short of a miracle for the Federal Government to return the Naira to its exchange rate to the dollar as of the time Buhari took over on May 29, 2015.

He said, “Buhari met a very bad situation when he assumed power, but he has made the situation worse. Nigeria today is a fragile state with a failing economy. Some say failing state; some say failed state.

“The economy is not just in recession; we are suffering from massive economic compression. Saying it is recession trivializes the issue.

“It will be a miracle if after eight years, by the time it leaves office in 2023, the current administration is able to return the economy in dollar terms to the exchange rate it met when it took over.

Credit: Punch Newspaper 

Buhari Hosts Akande, Tinubu In London (Photos)

President Muhammudu Buhari today received two part chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at his Abuja House, London where he his currently enjoying his vacation.

Those who paid the President a visit includes a National Leader of the APC and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and APC’s first national chairman and former governor of the state of Osun, Chief Bisi Akande.

OsunDefender recalls that the President had last January, 2017 written to the Nigerian Senate to proceed on a medical vacation.

However, shortly after he arrive in the United Kingdom, the rumor mill went agog about the health of Mr President with some insinuating he his dead.

However, today’s visit by the party chieftains, put to rest, the rumor on President Buhari’s health.

Buhari Must Fight Corruption In Universities – Human Rights Lawyer

By Uchechukwu Ugboaja

The Convener of a civil society organisation known as League of Civil Society Groups have insisted that President Buhari must fight institutional corruption in Nigerian universities to record any success at all in the all important crusade against corruption in Nigeria.
He made this statement during his group’s press conference addressing the current issues of alleged administrative impunity and victimisation of one Mr. Peter Agi the University of Calabar Bursar by the University Management headed by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Zana Akpagu over the Bursar’s act of whistle blowing of alleged corruption and fraudulent financial activities in the University system.
The Convener and Director of the group Barr. Kamaldeen Adefila, a human rights lawyer and civil society activist who spoke to press men challenged the University of Calabar authorities to publish the report of the findings of all the security agencies including the EFCC and the Nigeria Police who on different occasions upon the invitation of the University Management investigated Mr. Agi but found nothing in him, yet the school management insisted that he should remain suspended.
According to Barr. Adefila who criticised the impunity in which Mr. Agi was removed demanded that the victim be restored back to his position with immediate effect because retaining a consultant for the collection of the university’s finances is a blatant act of corruption as the Bursar’s office is the legitimate office which should be furnished with all the details of collections and remittances rather than a consultant who is only accountable to the V.C. “We condemn in strong terms the actions of the university management in terminating the appointment of the Bursar, whose only crime is his insistence on due process in the stewardship of a federal institution funded with tax payer’s hard earned money.”
We also wish to put it on record that the Vice Chancellor in promoting this nefarious agenda which is in clear violation of a subsisting order of the National Industrial Court Uyo, ‘restraining the University of Calabar from interviewing or employing any person or persons as Bursar pending the determination of motion on notice filed and served on the University of Calabar,” he said.
The group which boasts of over 300,000 members across the country urged the VC in the spirit of the rule of law to retrace his steps and do the needful by allowing the Bursar resume his rightful functions in the eye of the laws of Nigeria. The group insists that in the spirit of fairness and equity the security agencies should extend their investigations to to the office of the Vice Chancellor and other members of his management because there is need for the VC Prof. Zane Akpagu to account for how the University of Calabar TETFUND monies were spent amongst other financial issues deliberately shrouded in secrecy. President Muhamadu Buhari as the nations no one anti-corruption crusader must not allow this victimisation to stand as he has also promised to reward every act of whistle blowing that leads to fiscal recovery by the EFCC or relevant agencies in the country.
It is on record that University of Calabar has been bedevilled by several challenges in recent past which range from violent students protests including cult clashes that have caused the University Management to shut down the school resulting to loss of academic time and lives as well. We hope this will not lead to another major crisis again.

Presidency Is Lying With Corruption, Uses Insecticides With Legislature And Deodorant For Executives – Sen. Shehu Sani

By Uchechukwu Ugboaja

Senator Shehu Sani during plenary on Tuesday slammed a letter signed by President Muhamadu Buhari rejecting the letter from the Senate requesting for the removal and prosecution of the Secretary General of Federation, Engr. Babachir Lawal on issues bothering on abuse of office.

The letter read by the Senate President stated that it cannot rely on the recommendation of a Senate committee report which it claimed was signed by 3 out of 9 members. However in a swift response from Sen. Shehu Sanni of Kaduna state who is the chairman of the senate ad hoc committee which was set up to investigate the matter claimed that the Presidency was being economical with the truth.

According to him, 7 out of 9 members signed the original report we sent to the presidency as he also claimed that his name was deliberately omitted from the members of the committee despite him being the chairman of the committee.

He also claimed that most of the companies involved were invited as well as the SGF who was notified of his invitation but he never showed up to debunk the allegations made against him for taking advantage of the humanitarian crisis suffered in the North East, where he awarded contracts to companies and organizations where he has interests.

Sen. Sanni called on the President to show with the same level of concern he shows towards the Legislature when issues of corruption are raised against members of his cabinet, for him the cleaning has to begin in Mr. President’s kitchen cabinet for it to be seen as genuine.

On the same day the Senate President Bukola Saraki also read a similar letter from President Buhari re-nominating Ibrahim Magu as the EFCC Chairman. You will recall that his nomination was initially rejected by the Senate which eventually cost former Senate Leader Ali Ndume his position as he openly debunked the position of the Senate when he claimed in an interview with State House reporters that Magu’s nomination was not rejected by the Senate.

Some senators even echoed the view that the anti corruption war shouldn’t be about specific individuals and therefore President Buhari can still find individuals within the agency or outside who can also provide the necessary bite in the fight against corruption.

“Could there be anything special about Magu?” One senator asked when walking out of the chambers?

“What has he been able to achieve despite being in acting capacity for nearly one year now? Has there been a single conviction? Shouldn’t the presidency have requested for his security report before sending him for Senate screening, rather than allow the senate to request for his report from the DSS themselves?” The Senator quipped.

These questions revealed that these letters didn’t go down well with most Senators as the murmurings were heard although the senate President decided that there wouldn’t be a debate on the letters at that moment.

However Senator Eninnaya Abaribe who spoke on the 2017 budget also x-rayed some of certain items that perennially re-appear in the budget each year.

According to him, there are certain items which we all know are not easily perishable such as computers and some other hardware which do not require changing or replacing every year but how they keep popping up in the budget remains a mystery to the senate.

So he therefore called the legislature at large when considering the budgets to look critically into these rampant cases of repetitive and irrelevant items re-appearing in the budget. For him, “the more things change the more they look the same”.

Dogara Commends Buhari, ECOWAS Leaders Over Gambia

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of the Economic Community of West African States for the role they played in averting major political crisis in the Gambia.
In a statement issued on Sunday, by his Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan,  Dogara, said President  Buhari and his colleagues have averted a major political crisis that could have engulfed not only the Gambia but the entire West African sub region.
The speaker said that the leaders masterfully deployed diplomacy backed with potential military action to compell former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh to relinquish power to President Adama Barrow.
 “The leaders have demonstrated their readiness and strong resolve to defend democracy on the continent.”
“This would send strong signal to the world that democracy has come to stay in Africa. There is no room any longer for tyrants and dictators in the continent”, he said.
The  speaker maintained that inspite of any misgivings about democracy and it’s impact on the lives of the people, it still remains the best form of government and that “The will of the people and the consent of the governed  remains the only  basis of any government.”
Dogara said that the task ahead of African leaders is to fashion ways of making the system better  to deliver the greatest good to the greater number of people in order to enthrone good government, defeat poverty, engender patriotism and trust in the democratic system of government.

2017: Get New Economic Advisers, Mbaka Tells Buhari

Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka of the Adoration Ministry in Enugu State has advised President Muhammadu Buhari on leadership in the New Year.

He gave the advice in Enugu on Saturday in his New Year message at the cross over service to 2017.

He advised the President to tackle the challenges facing the country, saying “many Nigerians are suffering.

“Though the President is trying on corruption and security, Nigerians are hungry; they want to see more changes.

“There is the need to assist businessmen and women in their businesses.”

He also advised the President to appoint experts who would help him to revive the economy.

The cleric asked the President to consult Church leaders and eminent men of God to advise him and tell him the truth about the economy.

“We cannot reach him for advice because of the kind of people around him,” he added.

He then urged Nigerians to be patient and be prayerful “as your sufferings and hardships would be over in 2017.

“Nigeria is set to be great again,” he stressed.

Buhari Denies Media Reports On Ibrahim Magu

The presidency has denied media reports that it has authorised the sack of Ibrahim Magu as the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Video: We’ve Not Been Flushed Out Of Anywhere – Abubakar Shekau

Leader of the deadly Boko Haram terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau, has said that the insurgents are safe and have “not been flushed out of anywhere”.

On Saturday, President Muhammadu Buhari had announced that Boko Haram had been crushed and their camp in Sambisa was destroyed.

“I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the Camp fell at about 1:35pm on Friday, December 22, and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide,” the president had said.

But according to PUNCH, Shekau appeared in a new 25-minute video on Thursday, in which he said that Buhari was “telling lies to the people.”

“We are safe. We have not been flushed out of anywhere. And tactics and strategies cannot reveal our location except if Allah wills by his decree,” Shekau said.

“You should not be telling lies to the people. If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?

“Our aim is to establish an Islamic Caliphate and we have our own Caliphate, we are not part of Nigeria.”

2017 Budget: Upkeep of Presidential Jets Gulps N2.4bn

Despite the harsh economic climate in the country, the Federal Government is proposing to spend N2.38bn in 2017 on fueling and maintenance of the presidential jets.

The amount when compared to the N1.99bn approved in the 2016 fiscal period for similar expenses represents an increase of N390m.

Details of the proposed spending are contained in the 2017 budget which was submitted to a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 14.

According to the Presidency, the PAF contains 10 aircraft. These are: Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or AirForce One), one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters.

Each of the two Falcon 7X jets were purchased in 2010 by the Federal Government for $51.1m, while the Gulfstream 550 costs $53.3m, a former Minister of Information, the late Pro. Dora Akunyili, had said.

In the budget breakdown which was made available to our correspondent in Abuja, the presidency in the 2017 fiscal year is proposing to spend N900m out of the N2.38bn on fueling of the aircraft in the presidential fleet.

The N900m when compared to the N478.6m allocated for the same purpose in 2016 represents an increase of N421.4m or 88 per cent.

There is also a provision of N850m for maintenance of the aircraft. This amount is however N103.25m lower than the N953.15m allocated for aircraft maintenance in 2016.

In the same vein, the sum of N90m would be spent in 2017 to purchase air navigational equipment. In the 2016 fiscal period, the sum of N262.4m was budgeted for similar purpose.

The Federal Government is also proposing to spend N93.95m to purchase fire fighting equipment for the presidential air fleet as against N7.9m allocated for fire protection kits in 2016.