The Presidency, yesterday, dismissed a report quoting Senator Danjuma Goje as suggesting that a sum of N1.5trillion has so far been released for the administration’s National Social Investment Programme (SIP).
Goje was reported as saying that by the end of three years, the programme would have handled an unprecedented sum of $1.5trillion, adding: “I am yet to see one boy who came to tell me that he has benefited from your N500 billion.”
But the Presidency, in a statement by the media aide to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, said: “First, we would like to hope that the senator was misquoted. However, were it to be true that he made such wild claims, it would be unfortunate.
“To restate the facts, while indeed we have budgeted a total of N500B for the 2016 and 2017 budgets each, including the N100billion for the Family Housing Fund in the 2017 budget, only a total of N175billion has so far been released since the commencement of the programme.
“It is incredible that the senator will insinuate otherwise. If actually he was accurately reported, we would say he ought to have requested for the information, instead of misleading an entire nation with such an incredible claim.
“While the senator was claiming he knew no one from his state who has benefited from the SIP at a Senate Committee hearing on Thursday, his colleague from Kogi State, Atai Aidoko, requested from the Special Adviser to the President on SIP, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, for a random name of a beneficiary from his state, called the number there and then and got positive confirmation from the beneficiary.
“That senator then formally announced the outcome of his random call to the entire senate hearing.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, there are today in this country, 200,000 previously unemployed Nigerian graduates who are receiving their N30, 000 monthly stipends as they serve their communities in different capacities, including as teaching assistants, agric extension aides or community health workers.”
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday promised stakeholders that the Federal Government is presently having a partnership with the private sector to resolve the gridlock that is disrupting the economic activities in Apapa, Lagos.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Vice-President said this while welcoming a delegation from the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Osinbajo said the present government, in line with its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, would not stop in making sure of the implementation of policies to drive socio-economic growth and prosperity.
“I think that no one is in doubt that we have very great policies and we will ensure that these things are implemented and are done as faithfully as possible,” he said.
The Vice President also said the private sector in Nigeria would continue to play a prominent role in the economic programmes and initiatives of the administration.
He noted the significance of private sector investment in the economy, adding that collaboration between the Federal Government and the private sector would further boost the country’s economic progress.
“If you look at our economic programmes and several other initiatives, the private sector plays a prominent role in them, and that is how it should be.
“So there is no question that the roles the LCCI and private sector play are critical to the kind of development policies and plan that we have in this government,”he said.
The Vice President commended the LCCI for its Presidential Policy Dialogues on the economy, which he noted has helped in shaping some initiatives and policies of government.
Osinbajo further said that the administration will continue to have robust engagements and work with the private sector and stakeholders in developing plans for implementation of several economic projects.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has confirmed the news of his eldest daughter Damilola Osinbajo is getting married to Oluseun Bakare.
Osinbajo confirmed the news on his social media accounts saying
“With joy and praise to the Lord, Dolly and I announce the betrothal of our daughter Oludamilola Osinbajo to Oluseun Bakare.”
Damilola’s sister, Kiki Osinbajo, also shared the exciting news on her page “My sister is getting married. My new brother Oluseun Bakare in the house.
Last week the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo called for the decentralization of the country’s police structure while speaking on the issue of security.
Now the Nigerian Governors’ Forum have backed the call of the establishment of state police to counter rising insecurity in the country.
This was stated by the Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who addressed journalists after the two-day summit on national security organised by the Senate in Abuja, said most of the governors had agreed that state police should be introduced.
He said though some of the governors had expressed fear about the cost of establishing state police, Yari said the new policing system would be introduced in phases.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo while making a presentation at a National Security Summit organized by the National Assembly in Abuja, has agreed that adoption of state police was the way to go in meeting security needs of the country.
He said that every citizen of the country was entitled to adequate security by government and that the security failures of the government were not deliberate.
“State police and other policing methods are clearly the way to go,’’
“We cannot realistically police a country the size of Nigeria centrally from Abuja,’’ he argued.
“As a people any killing undermines the security of the state,’’ he stated as he mentioned several killings that had taken place in different parts of the country in recent times.
He said that government had worked on some policy objectives some of which needed legislative approval and cooperation of the judiciary.
He said that the security challenges of the country were complex and nuanced that securing Nigeria’s over 900,000 square Kilometres and 180 million people required far more men and materials than we have at the moment.
“It requires a continual reengineering of our security architecture and strategies; this has to be a dynamic process.’’
According to him for the country of our size, to meet the one policeman to 400 persons approved by the UN, will require triple of our current police force, far more funding of the police, the military and security agencies.
He said the country must intensify its collaboration with the neighbours to prevent the movement of persons with small arms and disarm pastoralists and other bandits passing through the nation’s borders.
“We must avoid the danger of allowing these conflicts to turn to religious or ethnic conflicts,’’ he said adding that it was the responsibility of political, religious and other leadership elite in Nigeria.’’
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday In Abuja, launched the Economic and Growth Recovery Plan (ERGP) Focus Laboratories on power, agriculture and manufacturing to fast-track economic growth.
Osinbajo disclosed that the newly inaugurated Focus Labs would further boost economic growth and ensure that Nigeria continued its journey of building a competitive economy.
“The labs will operate by bringing together all private and public sector officials to achieve the ERGP’s objective of reaching seven per cent economic growth by 2020.
“The Focus Labs are being conducted in three selected areas to accelerate investment and job creation.
“These specific areas are agriculture and transport, manufacturing and processing and finally power and gas sector,” he said.
Osinbajo explained that the laboratory groups were meant to bring private/public sector participants and potential investors together to think through the implementation of the specific areas of focus.
“We believe that working together as a group, we will be able to achieve these specific objectives that have been set out for us,” Osinbajo said.
Sen. Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning, said the government was far from achieving the targets captured in the ERGP.
He said government planned to improve power generation and its operational capacity to 10 Gigawatts by 2020, but two years to the deadline, it had only succeeded in generating four Gigawatts.
Udoma said the Focus Laboratories would eliminate the bottlenecks that hinder private sector investment in the agriculture, manufacturing and power sector.
He said this was important because 245.1 billion dollars was required to implement the ERGP, out of which 195.98 billion dollars was expected from private sector and 49.15 billion dollars from the public sector.
Udoma said the three main objectives of the initiative were to create new investment opportunities for critical projects, job creation and resolution of complex inter-agency problems that inhibited private sector investment.
The highlight of the event was the inauguration of the Central Steering Committee which comprised all ministers, permanent secretaries of Ministries of Budget and National Planning as well as representatives of the Vice-President’s office.
He also inaugurated the Core Working Groups for Agriculture and Transport, manufacturing and processing as well as Power and Gas Supply, headed by their respective ministers.
A committee set up by the National Economic Council to “find lasting solutions to the increasing cases of killings by herdsmen across the country,” is headed by the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi.
A cross-section of Nigerians have criticised the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo panel for its decision to raise a committee to hold talks with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria in its probe of the herdsmen killings.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, had said this on Thursday at the end of a meeting of the Osinbajo committee at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Federal Government’s plan to meet with Miyetti Allah, however, has drawn the ire of different socio-political groups in the country.
Among those who faulted the move by the Federal Government are the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere; the umbrella body for the Igbo, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo; and Middle Belt groups.
Others are a chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulrahman, and a Niger Delta activist, Annkio Briggs.
The ACF does not, however, see anything wrong with the talks the Umahi committee is to hold with the cattle breeders.
Afenifere said that though the government’s plan to meet the cattle breeders association in order to end their killings was good, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari could not be trusted.
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, warned that the Federal Government was leading the nation down the path of anarchy and lawlessness by planning to negotiate with the herdsmen, who it said had stained the nation with the blood of innocent citizens.
Odumakin slammed the Osinbajo-led panel for proposing to meet with the Miyetti Allah, saying it was unfortunate that “a professor of law would be meeting to negotiate with criminals.”
He added, “If the panel is meeting herdsmen, who are staining the country with blood, it means the Federal Government is complicit in the murder of Nigerians. They have not brought one person to book, but they are negotiating with the murderers; this is an invitation to anarchy.”
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo also questioned the objective of the dialogue with Miyetti Allah.
The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Uche Achi-Okpaga, told one of our correspondents that there was nothing to negotiate.
He stated, “What is the panel going to negotiate with the herdsmen about? Will they ask them (herdsmen) what the government should do to placate them before they will stop killing defenceless Nigerians? The setting up of the panel is simply unnecessary. It cannot achieve any result. It is the height of deceit. The panel has failed before it started.”
The President of the Middle Belt Youth Council, Emma Zopmal, said, “The government has never made an attempt to compensate the victims, yet it goes further to empower the Fulani herdsmen for killing innocent people. This is an irresponsible act on the part of the Nigerian government.”
Similarly, the President of the Berom Youth Moulders Association, Dalyop Chuwang, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the government should desist from handling security issues with kid gloves.
Chuwang added, “The sole responsibility of the government is to provide security to all citizens, regardless of tribe, religion and geopolitical region.
“The killer herdsmen should be declared as terrorists just like the Indigenous People of Biafra, which has not even launched an attack anywhere but has been tagged a terrorist group by the government.”
In the same vein, a Niger Delta activist, Ms. Annkio Briggs, expressed disapproval with the negotiation plans by the Federal Government.
Also, a member of the National Executive Council of Arewa Consultative Forum, Mohammed Abdulrahman, said, “If Buhari wants to do something, he should order the military to tackle the matter. He should ask them (herdsmen) not to come into Nigeria because they are not Nigerians.”
The Secretary General of the ACF, Anthony Sani, however, cautioned Nigerians against criminalising the Fulani.
He said, “Miyetti Allah is an umbrella body of herdsmen, but that does not suggest that the majority of its members are criminals who perpetuate the crimes of killing innocent people, including children who are not party to the feud.”
The ACF secretary noted that the plan of the Federal Government to negotiate with the warring parties, especially the herdsmen, did not amount to endorsing the killings.
Engineer Babachir Lawal, the former secretary to the Federal Government, who is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for corruption, has been released on bail.
EFCC sources confirmed that he has been allowed to go home on administrative bail.
He was invited for interrogation on Wednesday by the EFCC, over alleged N223million contract scams awarded at some IDP camps in Yobe State.
Mr Samin Amaddin, Acting Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, said the former SGF was cooperating with investigators and had made useful statements.
Lawal arrived at the Abuja office of the EFCC at 11:00 am on Wednesday, after which he was detained.
Lawal’s travails began on December 14, 2016, when the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on humanitarian crisis in the North East’ indicted him of fraud.
The former SGF was accused of using his company Rholavision Engineering Ltd to corner a N230 million contract for the clearing of “evasive plant species’’ in Yobe.
The contracts were awarded through the Presidential Initiative on Northeast (PINE).
In total, Lawal’s crime, according to the ad-hoc committee, was that he spent N570 million to cut grass, part of which he awarded to himself.
President Muhammadu Buhari later set up a panel headed by Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, to probe the allegations, along with reports that the former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency kept some $43m in an apartment in Ikoyi Lagos.
The Osinbajo report did not exculpate Babachir.
President Buhari terminated his appointment and appointed Mr Boss Mustapha as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is said to represent President Muhammadu Buhari in attending the second term inauguration of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, Kenya.
This was revealed by the Vice-President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande.
“Prof. Osinbajo would be joining several other Heads of State and Government from Africa and beyond who are expected at the swearing-in ceremony holding at the Kasarani Sports Complex in the country’s capital city.’’
The statement said the Vice President who left Abuja on Monday night, was accompanied by the Foreign Affairs Minister of State, Mrs Khadija Ibrahim and he is expected back in Abuja later today.
The Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC) had returned Kenyatta as winner of the first poll held on Aug. 8, before the country’s Supreme Court annulled the election in September.
The annulment followed a petition by opposition opponent, Mr Raila Odinga, who came second in the election.
The Supreme Court nullified the election on the grounds of “illegalities and irregularities” and ordered a rerun within 60 days.
However, Kenyatta won the rerun presidential election when he scored 7,483,895 votes representing 98.26 per cent.
Nigerians have been advised by the Vice President; Yemi Osinbajo to prepare for the payment of higher electricity tariffs saying it had become inevitable.
Speaking yesterday at the sixth presidential business forum held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Osinbajo said: “There is no question at all that we must pay higher tariffs.”
He, however, said that government was not going to increase the tariffs for now but rather working towards cleaning the electricity value chain.
According to him, the N700 billion payment assurance guarantee set aside by government was to ensure uninterrupted payment for gas and liquidity in the power sector.
Osinbajo said the payment assurance guarantee was to fund a smooth transition “from where we are to a much more market-determined policy for electricity.”
He said that government was already working with the World Bank on this.