Retaliatory Or Not, Killing Is Condemnable – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has condemned the spate of killings in some parts the country noting that the Plateau attack whether retaliatory or not is a condemnable act.

The attack by suspected herdsmen on some villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau state over the weekend has left scores dead with properties and houses destroyed.

Osinbajo during a visit to the state on Monday said the attack by suspected herdsmen on innocent villagers is a condemnable act which everyone must ensure it ends.

“It is the responsibility of everyone of us, especially leadership. The leadership of the communities to ensure that we are able to bring about a situation of lasting peace. We must ensure that we don’t allow a situation where anybody gets away with this sort of killings.

“In the particular case of this local government, we were told that herdsmen attacked the village. This is a condemnable act. There is no reason whatsoever for killing any Nigerian. Even according to the law, if a killing has taken place you are not allowed to kill in return. If you do it, it is as criminal as the very first act itself. This is an act that is condemned,” Osinbajo said.

The Vice President also noted that it is the responsibility of residents and their leaders to protect their community from falling victim of religious violence. he urged the residents and their leader to, “seize the moment, to ensure that this is not allowed to continue.”

“We may have greater problems. We must not allow this to continue.

“We must not allow in this country, a religious crisis that becomes uncontrollable. If this sort of thing continues to happen, we will have the kind of crisis that we should not have,” Osinbajo said.

 

The Vice President’s comment is coming after their had been earlier claims that the Plateau attack might be a reprisal by herdsmen.

Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had called on the Federal Government to review Nigeria’s security architecture in a bid to stem the killings in the country.

Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the special assistant on media and communication to the group’s president, Reverend Samson Ayokunle also condemned the weekend attack in Plateau State.

The group lamented that despite assurances and promises by President Muhammadu Buhari that his government was committed to the safety of lives and property of Nigerians, “coordinated and premeditated” attacks have continued in Plateau and other states.

Osinbajo Visits Plateau State Over Deadly Attacks, Killings

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has visited Plateau State to condole with the people and government of the state, following the deadly attack that claimed scores of lives over the weekend.

Professor Osinbajo arrived at the Jos Airport in the state capital on Monday evening and was received by Governor Simon Lalong and other government officials.

He then proceeded to a meeting with leaders of different ethnic groups and the government officials in the state.

The meeting based its discussion on how to ensure that peace returns to the troubled areas and prevent further attacks from happening.

The Vice President’s visit followed the death of no fewer than 86 persons murdered by suspected herdsmen during the weekend attack on Barkin Ladi Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

The assailants carried out the attack on six villages of Xlands, Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nhgar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk, all in Gashish district of the LGA.

While the police authorities in the state told Channels Television that 50 houses, 12 vehicles, and 15 motorcycles were destroyed, there have been reports of renewed attacks in the state.

The incident had consequently resulted in apprehension in Barkin Ladi and bordering local governments, as residents flee the attacked communities to seek refuge elsewhere.

The attack has also prompted the state government to impose a dusk-to dawn-curfew in the affected local government and two others – Riyom and Jos South LGAs.

The government had explained in a statement that the curfew was part of measures to avert any spillover and reprisal, as well as curb the escalation of the crisis.

Condemning the incident, Governor Lalong had also appealed to people to remain calm and respect the curfew as the government investigates the immediate and remote causes of the attack.

See the photos of the Vice President’s arrival below;

Osinbajo To Visit Jos Over Plateau Killings

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will visit Plateau State Monday evening to address the leaders over the renewed killings in the state.

The state Commissioner for information and Communication, Yakubu Dati, disclosed this to journalists in Jos in a telephone interview.

The police said 86 people were killed in several villages while six persons were injured in the attack that lasted between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.

It was learnt Mr Osinbajo will land at the Hiapang airport and address the leaders immediately.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed sources said there was a fresh attack at Kwi, a village near Hiapng Airport, Riyom Local Government Area of the state Monday afternoon.

Our source said the attackers invaded the communities and and set houses ablaze, during which an aged woman was burnt to death.

Details of the incident at Kwi could not be ascertained at press time.

The commissioner, Mr Dati, said Governor Simon Lalong will make a radio and television broadcast as part of measures to end the disturbances.

Osinbajo Urges African Countries To Look Beyond Oil

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on African countries to diversify their economies and look beyond oil-based revenue for future prosperity.

Mr Osinbajo stated this in Abuja on Monday while declaring open the Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO).

According to the vice president, while oil and gas have continued to remain the mainstay of African economies, there is the need for the re-investment of oil revenues through diversification to prevent economic crises resulting from over-dependence on the product.

”We must also redouble our efforts to achieve the following: One, to diversify our economies away from the dangerous overdependence.

“And two, to ensure that we invest as much as is possible of today’s current oil and gas revenues in the infrastructure and human capital that will underpin future economic growth and development.

“We must keep in mind that oil and gas are only guaranteed as today’s resources, and not necessarily tomorrow’s.

“We cannot bet on the fact that even a few decades ago from now these natural resources will be as central to the global economy as they are today.

“All serious economies around the world have realised this, and are making determined plans for a world beyond oil or as they say a zero-oil wealth.

“As African countries, we cannot afford to act differently.’’

Mr Osinbajo observed that the oil and gas industry was a capital-intensive one, noting that as individual countries, there was lack of the resources required to make the necessary investments to grow the industry.

According to him, this is especially so because these investments are competing with infrastructure and social services, for the limited resources available to governments.

He said that by serving as a platform for increased collaboration and cooperation among member countries, the organisation would go a long way towards helping overcome such financial challenges.

Mr Osinbajo stated that increased synergy would help mobilise the investments needed to deliver the major infrastructure required by the industry, such as transborder gas and oil pipelines, joint refineries and gas plants.

“Nigeria, as most of you know, is already leading by example, with our work on the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project, and the Nigeria-Niger collaboration on refining.

“In the increasingly interdependent world in which we live, greater levels of regional economic integration are required, allowing the free flow of the dividends of research and technology,’’ he added.

The official said that APPO needed to seriously look beyond public sector ownership of its activities and tap into private sector competencies and models to a greater degree.

Mr Osinbajo praised the organisation for embracing reforms of the sector to confront the challenges facing it and the choice of Nigeria’s oil Minister (State), Ibe Kachukwu, to drive the reforms.

He gave the assurance that Mr Kachikwu would not let the organisation down having carried out ”some far-reaching reforms in Nigeria’s petroleum industry to the admiration of the administration”.

Osinbajo To Launch North-East Humanitarian Hub In Yola Tuesday

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo will be in Yola, Adamawa State on Tuesday for the Launch of the North-East Humanitarian Innovation Hub.

This was revealed through a press statement made available to Naija News by the North-East Hub Team,
stating that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, will launch the North East Humanitarian Hub in Yola tomorrow, June 5, 2018.

The Humanitarian Hub or North-East Hub is an all-in-one Centre for innovators to leverage on human resource strength and capitalize on several opportunities for the development of the North East.

The Hub aims at ensuring sustainable peace and stimulating socio-economic growth in the region by providing key innovative support and access to basic human development activities.

The Hub will connect affected people with innovators, social entrepreneurs, investors, technologists, tech companies and venture capitalists for immediate solution to humanitarian challenges. The hub commenced this with the North-East Makeathon which commenced in October, 2017.

The North East Makeathon is a creative programme initiated to crowd source and support outstanding innovative ideas that can be used to fast-track the rebuilding process of the North East region.

The Humanitarian Innovation programme streamlines all generated ideas into scalable solutions that could decimate the humanitarian challenges faced by IDPs and other affected persons in North East, Nigeria.

The NEMakeathon provides networking opportunities, peer review, pitch development, product development and testing to young innovators as they compete to find reliable solutions to humanitarian challenges in the region.

The North East Makeathon is an intensive all-inclusive programme that includes the Pitch, Training, Mentorship and Incubation sessions for innovators working assiduously to use their innovative ideas to address identified priority challenges in the North East.

At the end of this stage, outstanding teams with the best innovative ideas proceed to the Innovation Hub, where they will be stationed and operationalize their innovative ideas.

Collaboration and coordination like these that would take place in the Hub would improve the socio-economic conditions in the North East, now and beyond.

Eminently, the Hub will be recognized for bringing together the best minds and for proffering innovative solutions to challenges faced by the people of North East Nigeria.

 

IG Keeps Mum After Meeting Osinbajo, AGF, DSS Boss

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Monday kept mum after a meeting he had with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

The meeting which was held behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja was also attended by the Director-General of the Department of State Security, Lawal Daura.

When State House correspondents approached the police boss at the end of the meeting, he declined comment.

The meeting was held about 24 hours after police authorities summoned the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, over his alleged relationship with suspects arrested following the April 5 bank robbery in Offa, Kwara State.

It also came shortly after the DSS withdrew some of its men attached to Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara. As of the time of filing this report, the Presidency had yet to issue a statement on the meeting.

Source: PUNCH

FG Approves N10bn for IDPs in Benue, Others

Federal Government has approved N10 billion for the reconstruction of communities ravaged by herdsmen attacks in Benue and other states of the federation.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this when he addressed thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Abagena camp in Makurdi on Wednesday.

Osinbajo, who said he was representing President Buhari on the visit, disclosed that the money had been approved at the Federal Security Council meeting held recently, to take care of security, reconstruction of damages communities and restoration of farms and farmlands.

“I am here to represent President Buhari who visited in March. He had asked that a study of all the ravaged communities be made and have identified that there are three things that must be done.

“The first is security. We want to ensure that the places that have been destroyed are secured; second thing is to ensure that the IDPs go back home and homes are rebuilt. The third is that we secure farms and farmlands so that the farmers can return back to their farm and also assist non farmers; traders to continue with their trade as well as assist in the education of the children,” he said.

The Vice President, who said the reconstruction of Benue had been made his business, said, “You will be seeing me more often in Benue state. All of these must be funded. We are providing you with your homes, which will look better than what was destroyed. It is your right as great people of Nigeria and I want you to know that nobody is doing you favour.”

While he turned to the children, Osinbajo told them “you are going to be better and happier. You are winners and as your parents, we will make sure you are happier than you are now and that you are successful too. By God’s grace, all your worries and sufferings have come to an end today,” he said.

He said the Federal Government as part of its programmes have introduced micro credits for women and artisans especially the Anchor Borrowers Programme, advising that the Benue people must organised themselves to be able to access these funds.

He said “All these suffering you are going through are just a stepping stone to all the good things that God will do in your lives. Dont ever think the suffering will continue. From now on, your morning has come and you will begin to access your joy and God will assist us to do all that we have promised”.

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, thanked the Vice President and President Buhari for their concerns. He noted the efforts of the federal government through NEMA which came to the aid of the state and also the setting up of a committee that had gone round the affected areas to put together the records.

He also thanked the President for deploying additional security to the state saying the state has witnessed relative peace since then.

“Whether it is mercenaries from Libya, Boko Haram or herdsmen, more forceful exercise should be applied and more security added to flush them out of Benue state so that the people can go home.

“The people want to go back home. From the look on their faces, you could see that it is not easy staying here at the camp. So far, we have lost some IDPs and about 69 new children have been delivered in the camp, under this terrible condition. You are not just an ordinary VP, you are a pastor, a man of God, a man who gives hope to the hopeless. We pray that this visit will give us hope and end our misery.

“We pray that God should give Nigeria a leader that would ensure justice and fairness. Ranching remains the best solution to herdsmen crisis in the state and across Nigeria and we thank you for presiding over the NEC, which has ratified it.”

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Emmanuel Shior told the Vice President that the Abagena IDPs camp which was opened first week of February is now occupied by 34,936 IDPs from from Benue and Nasarawa state.

Giving a breakdown of the figures, Shior said Women are 12,041, pregnant women 492, nursing mothers 616, men 6,363, children 16,583, the aged 258 while the disabled stood at 234.

He further explained that all the eight camps in Benue; Abagena, Daudu 1&2, Gbajimba, Anyiin, Abeda, Ugba and Logo, are housing 175,070 displaced persons out of which 80,450 are children.

“It is our belief that the presence of the VP will address the humanitarian challenges facing the state,” he said.

Some IDPs who also spoke, Angela Igbe, Joy Adamu and Bem Jeremiah appealed to the federal government to make haste to provide security for them so they can go back to their homes, schools and to their farms.

“We are not comfortable staying at the camp because there is too much congestion and some of us were supposed to write our final exams in school, but we cannot do that because we are in the camps. Please our President, we are tired of running helter skater and staying in camps. Help us. We want to go back home,” Joy Adamu said.

Killings: FG To Rehabilitate Destroyed Communities With N10bn

The Federal Government has approved a rehabilitation fund of N10bn for victims of killer herdsmen attacks in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states, as part of efforts to resettle thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made this known on Tuesday during a visit to IDP camps in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

 

He told over 34,000 IDPs who are taking refuge at the Abagana camp that the government is doing everything possible to ensure they are immediately resettled in their ancestral homes.

Professor Osinbajo who also promised to supervise the rehabilitation process, announced a three-point solution of providing adequate security for the communities, rebuilding destroyed homes and restoring farmlands currently being occupied by invading herdsmen to enable food production.

Several states have witnessed various attacks by the killer herdsmen since the beginning of the year with Benue state being one of the worst hit.

In April, the state government declared that the state was under a siege, following another attack on a church in which several persons were killed.

Subsequently, the governor, Samuel Ortom, dragged the leadership of the Miyetti Allah group before the State High Court, Markurdi, on the allegations of murder and widespread violence across 14 out of the 23 local councils of the state.

But the group has maintained that it has no involvement in the killings.

Several groups have, however, attributed the killings to the implementation of the anti-grazing law which bans open-grazing of cattle in the state.

But some others believe the anti-grazing law must not be compromised as it has nothing to do with the killings.

The Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose had said that contrary to the belief in some quarters that Law was responsible for the killings, the Federal Government’s handling of security matters was to blame.

19 Million Nigerians Now Pay Tax – Osinbajo

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday declared open the 2018 edition of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) conference with a revelation that the nation had increased its tax net from 14 million in May 2017 to 19 million this year.

Mr Osinbajo, who was the Special Guest of honour at the event, stated that as at Dec. 2017, only 943 Nigerians paid self-assessed taxes of less than N1 million.

“Earlier, I noted that as of May 2017, only 14 million economically active Nigerians paid taxes.

“I am pleased to not That the number is now in excess of 19 million and still growing,” he said.

“This means that efforts led by the federal Inland Revenue Service in collaboration with many of the states inland revenue services have already added more than five million new tax payers to the tax base.

“But there is still a lot of work ahead of us; as Nigeria races to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of tax compliance we all have a role to play in this.’’

The Vice President noted that tax issues were not exciting to anyone but added that it was an argument on whether one should pay taxes or enjoy dividend of governance.

According to him, in reality it should not be debated as compliance and good governance should exist side by side as the head and tail of a social contract that binds citizens and government.

He said it was difficult to explain the cynicism displayed by Nigerians about governance and about fulfilling their tax responsibilities.

“Governments generally have the nonchalance of fulfilling their own part of the social contract.

“But it is also a fact that when people pay taxes, they are more inclined to hold their governments to account.’’

He noted that it was almost 300 years since “no taxation without representation’’ became the rallying cry for the U.S. covenant and one of the main triggers of their revolution that earned U.S. colonies at the time independence from Great Britain.

Mr Osinbajo noted that Nigeria had experienced the Aba and Abeokuta tax riots incidentally both championed by women.

“The moral is a simple one that when citizens pay their full share of taxes they take more than a passing interest in how they are governed and how public funds are utilized and accounted for,’’ he stated.

Mr Osinbajo said that government had relied more in the past on oil revenues than on taxation adding that a decline in taxation depicted a decline in government’s accountability and ability to deal with the needs of the people.

He said poor tax management was one of the issues that increased corruption in the system adding that the fact remained that the tax payer was less tolerant of corruption than another who failed to pay.

He stated that because what government spent was oil money and taxes of few persons a lot of people saw government’s money as belonging to no one.

Mr Osinbajo stated that the present administration was determined to change the state of affairs and also determined to restore the social contract between the government and the citizens by ensuring prudence in public expenditure.

“We have aggressively expanded the implementation of the TSA and IPPIS both designed to ensure that public funds are transparently managed and spent.

“In the process we have succeeded in proving that process reforms are only as good and effective as their implementation.

“The TSA’s unified system of bank account domiciled in the CBN has proved to be far more transparent and cost effective than the old scenario where government agencies maintained thousands of accounts across many commercial banks because of the TSA the federal government realizes monthly saving of at least N4billion which could have gone on commercial bank charges alone.

“The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) has also tightened controls on federal payrolls and pension systems elimination tens of thousands of ghost workers and saving us more than N200 billion that would have gone to these ghost workers,’’ he added.

Mr Osinbajo stated that such savings were instrumental to the huge government expenditure on infrastructure and human capital development than any previous government in spite of the recession and dwindling earnings.

The Vice President referred to the tax innovation of late Obafemi Awolowo as premier of the old Western region which enabled the administration to raise money for huge infrastructure, agriculture and free education.

He, however, noted with dismay that the states in the western region besides Lagos did not earn enough taxes to pay salaries and any other major development effort.

“Without federal allocation, most states cannot survive; Lagos state alone takes in as much Internally Generated Revenue as 31 states combined; it tells you how little the other states manage to bring in in IGR,’’ he noted.

Mr Osinbajo stated that the country’s tax-to- GDP ratio was at six per cent but with the reforms in the tax system might rise to 15 per cent in 2020.

He said the administration had taken steps to curtail tax evasion by multi-national companies as well as prevent citizens from hiding their assets abroad. (NAN)

World Bank Officials To Meet Osinbajo, Adeosun, Govs Over Projects In Nigeria

A World Bank mission, comprising 10 executive directors, is expected in Nigeria on Wednesday to hold high-level discussions with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; and some governors over the bank’s projects in the country.

In the World Bank mission are the bank’s Executive Directors for Switzerland, France, Italy, Nordic, Peru, Germany, South Africa (representing Angola, Nigeria and South Africa), Burkina Faso (representing Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa), Zimbabwe (representing Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa), United Kingdom and Indonesia.

The delegation will discuss ongoing World Bank projects and the country’s development priorities with the vice president, minister of finance and the governors.

The officials will also meet the organised private sector in Lagos as well as undertake a tour of LAPO Microfinance project in Lagos and Azura Power Plant in Edo State.

The visit is expected to provide a first-hand impression of the challenges that both the federal and state governments face in implementing development projects as well as ensuring good governance overall.

It will further enhance the goal of the bank for member-countries and the effectiveness of the executive directors in providing the necessary support.

Osinbajo Reveals Those Involved In Grand Corruption Under Jonathan

The Presidency again on Monday confronted former President Goodluck Jonathan with instances of alleged corrupt practices during his administration.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, gave the instances in a statement made available to journalists.

Akande said the statement was a direct reply to reports attributed to Jonathan’s media office that the cases of corruption being mentioned were not true and that the government officials restating the instances were liars.

He recalled that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had recently said three persons stole $3bn during the last administration.

He said, “As the Vice-President said, $3bn was stolen in the so-called NNPC Strategic Alliance Contracts. The three persons involved are Jide Omokore, Kola Aluko and the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison- Maduekwe.

“The companies of both Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko lifted Nigerian crude oil and kept the proceeds. The total sums converted is in excess of $3bn including royalties, taxes, and fees unpaid for the asset from which the crude was taken.

“The case is the subject of a trial in Nigeria, and criminal investigations in the US and UK, and the assets of all the three individuals have been forfeited in Nigeria, the US, and the UK.”

Akande also cited the alleged diversion and theft of sums in excess of $2.5bn meant for the purchase of arms to prosecute the war against Boko Haram.

He said the first phase of the investigations revealed several sordid details, many of the assets of the culprits have been seized from them and they are facing trial.

He added, “The release of the sum of $289m in cash on February 25, 2015. Documents including cash vouchers indicated that the sum of $289,202,382 was taken from the Joint Venture Cash Call Account No. 000-0000-11658-366 of the NNPC/NAPIMS with JP Morgan Chase Bank, New York, USA.

“N70bn was released in parts from the national treasury between January 8 and February 25, 2015.

“In another illegal disbursement on August 25, 2014, N60bn in cash, in tranches of N40bn and N20bn: the sum was not tied to any project or procurement and was then shared between two security agencies under the supervision of the then NSA.

“Most of these sums ended up in the hands of senior PDP members some of whom had returned parts of the loot. Some are standing trial for these offences. These facts are in the public domain.”

The presidential spokesman added that there was another set of illegal fund withdrawals under one week between January 8 and 16, 2015, where the sum of N1.5bn was released in three tranches of N300m, N400m and N800m respectively.

This money, he said, was released from the MEA Research Library Account.

“Another document showed that N10bn was released to the Office of the National Security Adviser by the Central Bank of Nigeria on September 15, 2014. The money was released in tranches of foreign exchange of $47m, $5m, 4m Euros and 1.6m Euros.

“A letter from the Office of the NSA in November 2014 further showed that the monies were released as ‘funds for special services.’ This particular release of N10bn was sourced in November 2014 from the N40bn released by the CBN for Corporate Social Responsibility. Investigations showed that this money was released for the PDP presidential primaries,” he added.

Akande said the then CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, was allegedly sacked for speaking up about the over $20bn missing from oil proceeds.