By Olowogboyega Oyebade
Are you aware that the World Economic Forum coming up in 2021 will be devoted to a theme titled: “The Great Reset” which will entail a series of virtual dialogues to bring together global stakeholders to interrogate post COVID-19 scenarios? Do you know to be pushing the reset button to create well-being for people of this State in line with the dream of Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, the Governor of this State? Jennifer Morgan of Greenpeace International, cuts in:
“ We’re now in a different world. We need to ask, what can we be doing differently – to be pushing the reset button and looking at how to create well-being for people and for the Earth? ..Government funds need to be invested in people for long-term jobs. When we listen to the science and we have clarity on what we need to do, we can address these crises. We know the people who are being impacted by it. We know what the solutions are. I think the key is to put the health of people and the planet first.”
Can you believe that the promoters of the World Economic Forum are not the only one calling for a reset mode? Do you know that a survey by the International Trade Union Confederation found that only one in five (21%) of its 86 member countries during this pandemic, provided sick leave with pay for all or some workers? Do you know that this is a reflection that employers around the world are groping, a situation that reflects the need for reset through social dialogue to ensure that employers and workers are on the same during these troubled times and each party of the divide must show understanding? The voice of Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) cuts in:
“I can see how we could use this opportunity to design a better world,… to make it work. Solidarity and sharing and deciding on how you protect people – both within nations and globally – is absolutely critical at the moment. So public support for people and, of course, of the social dialogue are crucial. If you’ve got workers, employers and civil society at the table with governments at all levels, then you can design the kind of future that takes into account the right priorities for people, for the planet and for stable economies.”
Are you aware that the Governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola inaugurated Osun Security Network Agency and Amotekun Corps Board and the Independent Complaints Board on Thursday, 27th August, 2020? Do you know that the two Boards peopled with our best in the State, leave no one in doubt that this administration means serious business in security of lives and property at every coordinate in the State? Do you know that the Federal Government needs to key in and promote this popular approach as a compliment of internal security arrangement rather than finding other ways? You care for more? Come along.
Are you aware that on Friday 21st August, 2020, Police Inspector General Mohammed Adamu disclosed that much of the N13 billion just approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for the take- off of community policing in the country will go into training, sensitization and purchase of equipment for some people to serve as community police? While doing that, do you know that he warned vigilance and neighborhood watch groups against using the community policing programme to get involved in “illegal possession” of arms? The voice of the IGP cuts in:
“Community policing is a strategy. It is not a new police structure that is being created but within the police we re-strategise and then bring in community based initiatives. The implementation has gone far… For the benefit of doubt, anybody seen with any prohibited firearms will be arrested and prosecuted. Even if you are a recognised vigilante group called any name that is given to you by the state government that created you as a vigilante group or neighbourhood watch, created to help law enforcement agencies in fighting crime if you carry firearms that you are not licensed, you will be prosecuted and you will go to jail.”
Are you aware that the Minister of Police Affairs Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi also disclosed that the Ministry of Police Affairs is working closely with the leadership of the Nigeria Police to put in place a security structure across the country to secure lives and properties? His voice cuts in: “The idea is to improve on existing police/community partnership… State and Local Government implementation committees have been set up in all the States while recruitment in L G is in progress.”
Do you know that this position contradicts the popular opinions in States, an opinion that has has elicited two variants of theses, namely: the DAWN Commission/Federalist Proposition and the Governor Ortom’s School or the Benue Thesis? While the first school sees security as a shared responsibility in a Federal system that must wear local content and be compatible with the geography and culture of the area, do you know that the Governor Ortom’s School or the Benue Thesis is of the opinion that rather than arguing about the structure and command of community policing, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State made a fresh case for Nigerians to be allowed to bear AK-47 rifles for self-protection and defence in view of the general insecurity in the country and that the Police should only assist in the training of the Vigilance Groups set up by each State? Governor Ortom cuts in:
“… We have arrested about 400 herdsmen and some are not even Fulani. But majority of them are Fulani and we have prosecuted them. Today, we have convicted more than 130 herdsmen who are already serving various jail terms and some have paid fines. We have arrested over 9000 cattle, ,,,On the issue of foreign herdsmen coming into the country, I am happy that the Inspector General of Police some few days ago did say that these herdsmen are not Nigerians. That is what I said about two to three years ago. I knew it. .. I was able to do my independent investigation and knew that these people are coming for an agenda. Nigerians must wake up… I heard people complaining that Ortom called for Nigerians to be allowed to carry sophisticated weapons and that it would bring about anarchy. What about the herdsmen who are carrying AK-47 and kidnapping innocent Nigerians, raping our women and destroying our villages and towns and becoming a terror to us? Why can’t we collect these sophisticated weapons from them? How many of them have been arrested? I am aware that some of them have been apprehended, but majority of them are still there with these AK-47. This is a suggestion that the Federal Government should take up seriously ..It is left for the Government to look at it. I still stand with my suggestion.”
Have you heard the news that on 26th August, 2020 that President Buhari, whose second tenure expires in 2023, assured Nigerians and the international community that his administration will use the remaining years in office to prosecute a nine-point agenda for his government, which include: building a thriving and sustainable economy; enhancing social inclusion and reducing poverty; enlarging agricultural output for food security and export; attaining energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products and expanding transport and other infrastructural development, expanding business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialization; expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians; building a system to fight corruption, improving governance and creating social cohesion and improving security for all”? The President cuts in:
“Nigeria strongly supports joint action to ensure a democratic and fair world order based on strict respect for the norms of international law, … These include our cooperation in strengthening regional, continental and global peace and security, resolving complex issues, settling conflicts, addressing dangerous threats to mankind, which include terrorism, proliferation of small arms and light weapons etc”
Have you heard the news? Are you aware that on Thursday 27th August, 2020, Dr Ademola Adesina was elected for second term of office as President of African Development Bank? Do you know that the election took place on the final day of the 2020 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group, which was held virtually for the first time in the Bank’s history? Do you know that the election result, which gave him a hundred percent of votes of all regional and non-regional members of the Bank, was announced by the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Bank, Mrs. Niale Kaba, Minister of National Planning of Côte d’Ivoire? As newly re-elected President, Dr. Adesina, a former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, do you know that he will begin his new term on September 1, 2020? Do you know that as the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, made history as the first President of the Bank to be re-elected via a hundred per cent votes by the Bank’s Board of Governors and other stakeholders? Do you know that he is a globally renowned development economist, World Food Prize Laureate and Sunhak Peace Prize Laureate? Do you know that President Buhari also felicitated with him? His voice of acceptance cuts in:
“Of course, right now, the sound that is the loudest in my ears is the announcement of my re-election as President of the African Development Bank for a second term…We also made history by re-electing me by 100 percent votes via a vote. .. it shows that all voices were heard, it shows that we are true to the constitutive test of our bank. The future beckons us for a more developed Africa and a much stronger and resilient African Development Bank Group…, while further strengthening the institution, for greater effectiveness and impacts.”
Have you heard another good news? Are you aware that on Thursday 27 August, 2020, it was reported that the Canadian government appointed a Nigerian-born Canadian, Kaycee Madu, as the Justice Minister and Solicitor General of Alberta, a Province in Canada to replace Doug Schweitzer, the new Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation? Do you know that this 47-year-old man was born and raised in Southeast Nigeria, graduated from the University of Lagos with a law degree in 2001 and practised law in both Nigeria and Alberta? Do you know that he and his wife relocated to Canada in 2005? Do you know that he was first elected as a Minister in Alberta in the April 2019 general election and prior to his current appointment, he was a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province, representing the District of Edmonton-South West after winning the 2019 Alberta general election? Do you know that he is expected to spearhead the changes in the Police Act, and provincial election finance laws proposed by the Select Special Democratic Accountability Committee? Do you know that Madu is the first black man to occupy either Provincial or Federal Justice positions of the Justice Minister, Attorney General or Solicitor General in Canada? While reacting to his appointment, his voice cuts in:
“I spent my entire professional career fighting for those who lacked means, including at Legal Aid Alberta, Labour, Immigration, and Human Rights Tribunals, and in the courts. My views on the application of justice and equality will always be integral to who I am as a father, husband, citizen, lawyer, and politician. I am determined to make sure our justice system represents all Albertans in a way that is fair and accountable. In particular, I believe Modernizing the Police Act will be a necessary step towards ensuring equality for marginalised people before the law, and I look forward to that important work ahead.”
Have you heard the news that on Monday 24th August, 2020, Africa was declared free from wild polio by the Africa Regional Certification Commission? Do you know that in 1996 poliovirus paralysed more than 75,000 children across the continent, an outbreak that propelled Nelson Mandela to launch “Kick Polio Out of Africa” programme that year? Do you know that since 1996 billions of oral polio vaccines were provided? Can you recall that in 2003, Kano and a number of other northern States in Nigeria suspended immunisations following reports by muslim religious leaders that the vaccine was contaminated with an anti-fertility agent as part of an American plot to make Muslim women infertile, a claim that laboratory tests by Nigerian scientists dismissed? Can you recall again that in 2013 nine female polio vaccinators were killed in two shootings thought to be carried out by Boko Haram at health centres in Kano? Do you know that the campaigns against polio enjoyed the partnership of the WHO, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined in 2007, followed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance? The statement of John Hewko, General Secretary and CEO of Rotary International.World Health Organisation cuts in:
“Today’s victory over the wild poliovirus in the African region is a testament to what can happen when partners from a variety of sectors join forces to accomplish a major global health goal. It is something the world can and should aspire to during these turbulent times.”
In a swift reaction on Tuesday, 25th August, 2020, the voice of President Buhari cuts:
“This is indeed a truly historic event. I recall shortly after assuming office in 2015, I made a pledge to Nigerians that I would not bequeath a polio-endemic country to my successor. … I can affirm the commitment of all African leaders in this course of action. We must guard this achievement jealously and ensure that we take all necessary steps to prevent the resurgence of this deadly disease, sustian the momentum and leverage on the lessons learnt from the polio eradication to strengthen our health systems, especially primary healthcare and health security”.
Are you aware that on Thursday 27th August, 2020, President Buhari held the Nigerian Council of State, an organ of the Nigerian Government made up of the President, Vice-President, all former Presidents of the Federation all former Chief Justices; President of the Senate; Speaker of the House of Representatives; all the Governors of the States of the Federation; and Attorney-General of the Federation? Do you know that the Council has the following responsibilities: advise the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to the: National population census and compilation, publication and keeping of records and other information concerning the same; prerogative of mercy; award of national honours; the Independent National Electoral Commission (including the appointment of members of that Commission); the National Judicial Council (including the appointment of the members, other than ex-officio members of that Council); the National Population Commission (including the appointment of members of that Commission); and advise the President whenever requested to do so on the maintenance of public order within the Federation or any part thereof and on such other matters as the President may direct?
Do you know that the Council of State approved the presidential pardon granted late Ambrose Ali, the first democratically elected governor of old Bendel State (now Edo and Delta states), controversially indicted over a N900,000 scandal which he later paid but was convicted while he was alive and after whom the Ambrose Ali University in Edo State was named? Do you know that others pardoned include two retired army officers, Col Moses Effiong and Major E. J. Olarenwaju, who were said to be involved in a coup attempt during the Ibrahim Babangida military rule and one Ajayi Babalola, two inmates for pardon, 39 inmates for clemency as part of the strategies put in place to see to the decongestion of our correctional centres, the centres in which we have more than 70 percent inmates as awaiting trial across the country? Based on the strength of the prerogative of mercy occasioned provided for in the Constitution, do you know that Mr. President has directed the decongestion of our correctional centers across the country in collaborative action with the Governors, Heads of Courts in collaboration with the Presidential Committee on decongestion of our Correctional Centres which led to the granting of clemency to over 4,000 inmates out of the Correctional Centers across the country? Do you know that Council also considered a memo presented by the Attorney General of the Federation seeking to appoint representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association at the Federal Judicial Service Commission as the law confers on Mr. President to appoint members of the Federal Judicial Service Commission, subject to consultation with the Council of State?
Do you know that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning briefed the Council on the Q2 Report that the economy contracted by -6.10 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 (April to June) based on data released by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS)? Do you know that the Minister revealed that the report appears muted compared to the outcomes in several other countries, including large economies such as the US (-33%), UK (-20%), France (-14%), Germany (-10%), Italy (-12.4%), Canada (-12.0%), Israel (-29%), Japan (-8%), South Africa (projection -20% to -50%), with the notable exception of only China (+3%)? Do you know that she disclosed that the Economic Sustainability Programme (ESP) contributed immensely to dampening the severity of the pandemic on growth? Do you know that she disclosed that Nigeria might fall into recession in the third quarter of the year, but that it will be short-lived? The voice of the Minister of Finance cuts in:
“Basically, for the Nigerian economy, our exposure to economic shortfall manifests in the following areas – export earning fluctuations, reliance on import to service substantial part of our expenditure and needs, whether energy, food or industrial supplies, our reliance on export to finance the import and lack of diversification, especially in terms of resources of government revenue. The vulnerabilities we face pre-COVID-19 have been exacerbated by the onset of COVID-19 and the Nigerian economy is disproportionately vulnerable to the twin shock of oil price collapse as well as health crisis because of our over-dependent on oil revenue and the low levels of foreign and domestic investments as well as the decline in foreign reserves. All of this is at a time the fiscal buffers are currently lean and the developments in the world oil market further make it difficult to rebuild those buffers this time, the foreign reserves, the excess crude account or the sovereign wealth fund. Recently, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, NBS, released our Q2 2020 GDP report which showed that for second quarter 2020, GDP growth was negative of 6.1 percent, bringing cumulative half year 2020 GDP growth to – 2.1 percent. Nigeria’s GDP performance better than major economies However, it is noteworthy that Nigeria GDP performance was better than major economies. Real GDP growth for full year 2020 is being projected at -4.2 percent by the NBS, but for 2021, we are projecting a recovery of 3.3 percent. This is consistent with the mass recoveries projected across different countries and other regions of the world.
Inflation is expected to remain above single digit over the medium term, given the structural issues impacting in the course of doing business, including the high cost of food distribution. And overall our fiscal risks are somewhat elevated likely due to COVID-19 related disruptions which have exacerbated the structural weaknesses in the economy. We continue to face significant challenges, especially with respect to revenue generation and that is why the key reforms, such as the strategic revenue growth initiative that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning is driving hard will continue to be implemented with increased vigour. The implementation of the reverse 2020 budget will also be accelerated. Capital releases which stood at N445 billion at the end of June before the reverse budget was passed, is now up to N1.2 trillion. The current coordinated efforts of the Federal Government to contain COVID-19 pandemic, especially the N2. 3 trillion economic stimulus plan, would reposition the economy on a sustainable part of rapid recovery, though it’s likely that the Q3 GDP growth will be negative, which means relapsing to a recession, our hope is for a short-lived recession.”
Hurray! Do you know that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Friday 28th August, 2020 directed licensed bureaux de change operators to sell dollars to customers at a rate not higher than N386 to the dollar? The circular signed by the Director, Trade and Exchnage Department, O.S. Nnaji, of the Central Bank cuts in:
“As part of efforts to enhance accessibility to foreign exchange, particularly to travellers, following the announcement of the limited resumption of international flights by the Minister of Aviation, commencing with Abuja and Lagos, the CBN hereby wishes to inform the general public that gradual sales of foreign exchange to licensed BDC operators will commence with effect from August 31, 2020.”
Have you heard the news that the Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award was constituted on Friday 28th August, 2020 by the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, a board saddled with the responsibility of identifying, recognizing and rewarding Academic excellence? Do you know that the Board was urged to promote intellectual and academic attainments for national development as only people of proven integrity and academic excellence in their various field of human endeavor will achieve sustainable development for the country? Do you know that President Buhari is not leaving any stone unturned in recognizing any good talent that can add more values to excellence in the country? You want to know more about that? Come on!
Have you heard the news that President Buhari appointed Daniel Amokachi, 46, as Special Adviser on Sports according to a letter of appointment dated 17th August 17th 2020 and signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha? Do you know that Daniel Amokachi, born on 30th December 1972, is a Nigerian former professional footballer, and former assistant manager of the Nigeria national football team and a technical director since 2006? Can you recall that early this year, he was named Nigeria’s Football Ambassador, a ceremonial role that he is expected to mentor youngsters? Do you know that this recognition by Mr President is to encourage the youth to be up and doing in their chosen careers? Do you know that he played in Kaduna with Ranchers Bees, played for Club Brugge of Belgium, Besiktas of Turkey, Everton of England and Colorado Rapids? Do you know that he played in three World Cup finals in 1994 and 1998, won gold in Atlanta 1996 Olympics, won two Africa Cup of Nations as both player and Assistant Coach, to Stephen Keshi, Austin Eguavoen, Samson Siasia and Lars Largerback? Do you know that he retired to coach the U-23 National Team, served as Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles and coached Nasarawa United?
Do you know that he had pretty performances in World Cup Tournaments, rated third in the African Footballer of the Year award three times and scored the first goal of the UEFA Champions League with Club Brugge on 25 November 1992, beating CSKA Moscow 1–0? Do you know that he won the FA Cup with Everton in 1995, scoring two goals in the semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur? Do you know that he played many international matches for Nigeria, and was part of the team that participated in the 1994 FIFA World Cup and 1998 FIFA World Cup, won the 1994 African Nations Cup and helped win the Olympic gold medal in 1996, scoring in the Gold Medal game itself against Argentina? Do you know that the recognition Mr President is giving to this ace footballer should be commended seriously, a recognition that is denied some other ace footballers in some West African countries? Do you know that Didier Drogba’s candidacy to be Côte d’Ivoire Football Federation President has been frustrated by the powers that be? You care for more? Come along.
Do you know that Didier Drogba was born on 11th March 1978 and is an Ivorian retired professional footballer who played as a striker and became the all-time top scorer and former captain of the Cote D’Ivoire national team? Do you know that he is regarded as one of Chelsea’s greatest players, the club’s fourth highest goal scorer of all time and was named in the Chelsea team of the 2010–2020 decade by Chelsea’s fans? Do you know that he was named African Footballer of the Year twice, winning the accolade in 2006 and 2009? Do you know that Drogba made his professional debut aged 18 for Ligue 2 club Le Mans, and at 21, finished the 2002–03 season with 17 goals in 34 appearances for Ligue 1 side Guingamp, moved to Olympique de Marseille, where he finished as the third highest scorer in the 2003–04 season with 19 goals and helped the club reach the 2004 UEFA Cup Final? Do you know that in July 2004, Drogba moved to Premier League club Chelsea for a club record £24 million fee, making him the most expensive Ivorian player in history and helped the club win their first league title in 50 years, and a year later he won another Premier League title? Do you know that his displays saw him named in the FIFA World XI for 2007 and in March 2012, he became the first African player to score 100 Premier League goals? Do you know that in May, 2012, he scored in Chelsea’s 2012 FA Cup Final win over Liverpool to become the first player to score in four separate FA Cup finals? Do you know that he played in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, in which he scored an 88th-minute equaliser and the winning penalty in the deciding shoot-out against Bayern Munich? Do you know that he played for 6 months with Shanghai Shenhua in China, and one and a half seasons with Turkish club Galatasaray where he scored the winning goal in the final of the 2013 Turkish Super Cup? Do you know that Drogba returned to Chelsea in July 2014? Do you know that he joined Canadian club Montreal Impact in 2015 as a Designated Player and played 41 matches over two seasons, scoring 23 goals and became a player–owner for Phoenix Rising of the United Soccer League in 2017? Do you know that when he retired at the age of 40, he was with a career record of scoring 10 goals in 10 finals winning 10 trophies at club level, and named as the “ultimate big game player.”?
Do you know that at the level of Cote D’Ivoire, between 2002 and 2014, Drogba captained the national team from 2006 until his retirement with 65 goals from 105 appearances and led the country to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, their first appearance in the tournament, and also scored their first goal? Do you know that he captained the the country at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups and was part of the country’s teams that reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2012 and on 8 August 2014, he announced his retirement from international football and on 11th December, 2018, he became Vice President of the International Organization Peace and Sport? Can you believe that with all these excellent service to his country, Didier Drogba’s hopes of becoming president of his country’s football federation were dealt a serious blow after he was informed that he was ineligible to contest in elections set for September 5, 2020? According to the Ivory Coast Football Federation (FIF) Electoral Commission, do you know that it is reported that Drogba failed to meet a number of conditions in its eligibility criteria as the two names he had submitted as his sponsors were declared not to have the necessary authority to do so, a terrible impediment put on his way by his countrymen to frustrate his desire to transform the sport in the country? Can you now see why we have to congratulate Amokachi as a prophet that is still honour-laden in his country, courtesy of the President? Do you know that we need to honour more people in sports particularly, an ace basketball player in the United States, Akeem Olajuwon, (the Dream)? Do you know that we need to rejig the science and innovation faculties too to honour more people to boost more inventions? Do you know that this initiative will provide fillip to other drives to boost the economy? You care for these other drives? Come along.
Can you recall that last year, in a bid to fast track the roll-out of meters to electricity consumers, NERC introduced the Meter Asset Providers (MAP) programme? Under this scheme, do you know that the regulation provides for the third-party financing of meters, under a permit issued by the Commission, and amortised over a period of 10 years? Do you know that the electricity distribution companies (DISCOs), in line with their licensing terms and conditions, are obliged to achieve their metering targets as set by the Commission under the new regulation, a regulation that was slowed down because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic? Do you know that the Federal Government is working to ensure that DisCos commit to increasing the number of hours of electricity supply per day, and quality of service?
To pursue this agenda, do you know that on Wednesday 26th August, 2020, in response to the yearnings of Nigerians, President Buhari directed the commencement of a nationwide mass-metering programme as part of efforts to end estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity as disclosed by the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), James Momoh? Do you know that in order to make this directive possible, the President also approved a waiver of the import levy on metres, so that those that do not have metres can be supplied as early as possible at reasonable costs? Do you know that measures are already in place to protect the poor and vulnerable in cases of tariff reviews in line with service-based principles and in pursuit of post COVID-19 economic response? The voice of the Chairman, James Momoh cuts in:
“Under these service-based principles Distribution Companies (DISCOs) will only be able to review tariff rates for customers when they consult with customers, commit to increasing the number of hours of supply per day and quality of service. In all cases poor and vulnerable Nigerians will not experience any increase; in line with these expectations….No estimated billing through the strict enforcement of the capping regulation; this means that unmetered customers will not experience any cost increase beyond what is chargeable to metered customers in the same area.”
Are you aware that in the bid to jump-start the economy, the Federal Government is promoting the private sector seriously? Do you know that production of petroleum products in Nigeria is to expand output by 600%, as it opens mini-refinery soon? Do you know that the refinery is expected to contribute about 271 million litres of refined products to the domestic market as disclosed on Wednesday 26th August, 2020? Do you know that this initiative is coming from Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, an independent producer, dedicated to increase the output of its 5,000 barrel a day capacity mini-refinery in Ohaji/Egbema, Imo State to 30,000 barrels a day by 2022? Do you know that the refinery, which is 98% completed, is expected to be commissioned in September 2020? Do you know that the refinery is expected to primarily serve the South-Eastern part of the country, a project that is part of a bigger industrial energy park that will serve as a manufacturing base for oil and gas components to power a 30-megawatt power station which is expected to expand to about 300 megawatts later?
Do you know that Nigeria has desperately tried to revive its refining industry that has languished for years? Can you believe that the nation’s refineries did not refine a single barrel of crude oil in a while year, but reportedly incurred a combined operating expense of N142.07 billion, according to the latest earnings report from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC? Do you know that the NNPC attributed the abysmal operational performance of the refineries to an ongoing revamping process aimed at further enhancing their capacity utilisation once completed? Do you know that the refineries are located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri and have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day but have continued to operate far below the installed capacity? Do you know that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is also building a refinery with a capacity of 650,000 barrels a day that will help cut Nigeria’s $7 billion annual fuel-import bill?
Can you recall that President Buhari had in March ordered the suspension of international flights to stop further the spread of COVID-19 virus into the country while local flights were also suspended? Do you know that local flights resumed about five weeks ago as the country joined the rest of the world to battle the pandemic, a pandemic that Nigeria recorded its first case of COVID-19 in an Italian who arrived in the country by air in late February, 2020? Do you know that as at today Saturday 29th August, 2020, Worldometer revealed that Nigeria’s Coronavirus Cases are 53,477, deaths are 1,011 and recovered cases are: 41,017? Are you aware that on Thursday 27th August, 2020, it was disclosed that the resumption of international flights, earlier scheduled to resume on 29th August, will now commence on 5th September, 2020 so as to ensure that all non-aviation logistics are put in place? Do you know that a comprehensive list of countries from where passengers will not be allowed to fly into Nigeria will be released next week? Do you know that the resumption of international flights, although inevitable, is a seeming strife against our health sector? Do you know that it will increase the spread of the pandemic and pave smoother ways for the exodus of doctors and other health professionals in the country? Can you believe that from data provided by the United Kingdom’s Medical Council, the number of Nigerian doctors migrating to the UK increased by almost 100 between July and August, 2020 despite the restriction on international flights? Can you recall that the Nigeria Immigration Service had in July, 2020, prevented 58 Nigerian doctors from migrating to the UK because they did not have visas? Do you know that the United Kingdom recently introduced a ‘Health and Care Visa’ policy, which aims to make it cheaper, quicker and easier for healthcare professionals to migrate to the UK? Can you believe that the 58 Nigerian doctors, who were prevented by immigration from travelling to the UK were expected to earn between £51,384 (N25.1m) and £98,112 (N47.9m) per year depending on the experience they have, according to NES Health Care, a UK-based firm? Do you know that other destinations of choice include Canada, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia and the United States which recently approved visas for medical workers? Do you know that out of the 33,000 registered doctors in Nigeria, the ones we have practising in Nigeria are less than 20,000, indicating that over 13,000 are all around the world? Do you know that this country has to address the issue of brain-drain in its health sector? Apart from the issue of quality health to the people held as sacrosant by this administration, do you know that the administration is genuinely concerned with the administration of justice? You care for more? Come on!
Are you aware that on Wednesday 26th August 26, 2020, President Buhari challenged the Nigeria Bar Association during the Annual National Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Lagos, a conference that coincided with the body’s 60th anniversary, where he was represented by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to work towards reforming the Nigerian judicial processes to ensure the speedy dispensation of justice in the country to see judicial reforms that will fast track all court cases so that the longest will be a maximum of 15 months? The voice of President Buhari cuts in:
“I believe we need to step forward and resolve some of the emerging problems of our system of administration of justice. Reform is urgent because the fabric of our society is stitched together by our system of justice and law enforcement. .. We cannot afford to have the stitches undone. The first issue I would like to commend to your consideration is the terribly slow pace of trial in our courts. I’m not a lawyer, but I have been a beneficiary of the judicial process. Reform is urgent because the fabric of our society is stitched together by our system of justice and law enforcement. We cannot afford to have the stitches come undone. The first issue I would like to commend to your consideration is the terribly slow pace of trials in our courts. My question then is that why can’t we have timeliness on all cases? Why can’t we put in place the rules that will state that a criminal trial all the way to the Supreme Court must not exceed 12 months in duration? Why can’t we do the same for civil cases? ..The question of speed raises a related concern in the context of a competitive global economy, the speed of our legal institutions and processes must match up with the global pace of transactions.”
Are you aware that in another development, President Buhari on Monday 24th August, 2020 at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja, while declaring open a Workshop for Nigerian Judges organized by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption in conjunction with the NJI, said the judiciary arm of government was yet to perform its functions to the satisfaction of Nigerians given the reforms brought about by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act? The voice of the President cuts in:
“In justice, integrity is a necessity. Hence, Judicial Officers and all other members of this sector must always demonstrate manifest integrity. Critically important also, is the sacred duty of the judiciary to ensure that criminal justice administration is not delayed. I am worried that the expectation of the public is yet to be met by the judiciary with regard to the removal of delay and the toleration of delay tactics by lawyers. When cases are not concluded the negative impression is given that crime pays. So far, the corruption cases filed by government are not progressing as speedily as they should in spite of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 essentially because the courts allow some lawyers to frustrate the reforms introduced by law. In the face of dwindling revenues and in a bid to reposition Nigeria’s economy, ‘it became obligatory to swiftly tackle two ills; waste and corruption. The challenge is to come up with an integrated approach that balances process and substance, promote clarity to ensure a coherent and realistic formulation of objectives. To this end, the Judiciary is under a duty to keep its house in order and to ensure that the public, which it serves, sees this. Thus, we cannot expect to make any gains in the war against corruption in our society when the judiciary is seen as being distant from the crusade. This will not augur well and its negative effect will impact all sectors of society. Judiciary must always fight delay of cases in court and to also fight corruption in its own ranks, perceived or otherwise. We expect to see less tolerance to delay tactics used by defence lawyers or even the prosecution in taking cases to conclusion.”
We congratulate Mr Adegboyega Oyetola for all the sterling achievements recorded so far and we collectively declare that he is a jolly good fellow as the mass of the people in all the coordinates are hailing and urging him to move on to Kilometre 8, Bola Ige House, Secretariat, Abere. The “Great Reset” for another marathon is here!