Thursday, 30 April 2015

Jonathan Swears in Two Federal Commissioners 30 Apr 2015

Jonathan Swears in Two Federal Commissioners

30 Apr 2015
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By Jaiyeola Andrews in Abuja

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday swore in two federal commissioners.
Ambassador Toye Olofintuyi from Ekiti State was sworn in as Commissioner in the Civil Service Commission (FCSC), representing Ekiti, Edo and Ondo States.
Ambassador Abudullahi Shinkafi from Zamfara State was sworn in as Commissioner, Federal Character Commission (FCC).
In his remarks, Jonathan charged the two commissioners to bring their wealth of experience to bear in their new assignment.
According to him, the FCSC  and the FCC were designed to stabilise the country.
According to the president, the civil service commission employs and disciplines the civil servants in terms of implementation of government services and programmes.
He charged the FCC to do very well by encouraging and enhancing the unity of  the nation and make all Nigerians have the belief that they belong to the cou

Jonathan Swears in Two Federal Commissioners

30 Apr 2015

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By Jaiyeola Andrews in Abuja

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday swore in two federal commissioners.
Ambassador Toye Olofintuyi from Ekiti State was sworn in as Commissioner in the Civil Service Commission (FCSC), representing Ekiti, Edo and Ondo States.
Ambassador Abudullahi Shinkafi from Zamfara State was sworn in as Commissioner, Federal Character Commission (FCC).
In his remarks, Jonathan charged the two commissioners to bring their wealth of experience to bear in their new assignment.
According to him, the FCSC  and the FCC were designed to stabilise the country.
According to the president, the civil service commission employs and disciplines the civil servants in terms of implementation of government services and programmes.
He charged the FCC to do very well by encouraging and enhancing the unity of  the nation and make all Nigerians have the belief that they belong to the country.

Buhari Warns Personal Aides to Steer Clear of Media Matters 30 Apr 2015

Buhari Warns Personal Aides to Steer Clear of Media Matters

30 Apr 2015
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  •   AIT: We look forward to healthy relationship with president-elect
ByOnyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The president-elect of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari, has instructed all his staff, including the security personnel attached directly to him, to steer clear of all dealing with the media, and leave all media activities to his official media team.
In a statement released in Abuja Wednesday by the Directorate of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Buhari aligned himself with the pronouncement of his party, the APC which had earlier expressed disagreement with the temporary barring of the Africa Independent Television (AIT) from covering his activities.
“I would like everyone to henceforth stay within his/her defined area of responsibility,” Buhari said.
The president-elect added that his media team should be left to deal with their media colleagues as they best knew how.
According to the statement, Buhari was neither consulted nor informed about the barring of AIT, and only became aware of the matter after the public uproar it generated.
“The time of ‘Change’ has come,” he said, adding that
“and we must avoid making the same mistakes that the outgoing government made.”
Meanwhile, Daar Communications Plc, the parent company of AIT, has disclosed that it is looking forward to a progressive and healthy relationship with the incoming administration.
  It added that it hoped the rights and freedom of the media would not be impeded in the discharge of its collective duties and responsibilities.
In a statement made available to THISDAY, the management  company said AIT, from its inception, had always strived to ensure it provided the public with all the facts and angles of any issue without bias and the same opportunities were provided to all parties, which contested the 2015 general election.
The statement read: “The justification for this action has made it necessary to officially respond to this regrettable development. By Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ‘The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people’”
“We consider it a worrisome development if ‘security and family concerns’ are used as a justification for censoring AIT or any other media organisation from covering and reporting the activities of the president-elect, his incoming administration or any other public officer.
“We wish to state categorically that the allegation of ‘security issues’ against our organisation is not an issue that the appropriate security agencies should view lightly. We want this incident appropriately investigated.  We have never and shall never be involved in any security activities that will compromise state institutions, personalities or any other interest whatsoever.

Borno Govt: 293 Women and Girls are from Bumsiri, Not Chibok 30 Apr 2015 Font Size: a

Borno Govt: 293 Women and Girls are from Bumsiri, Not Chibok

30 Apr 2015
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•  Freed females moved to Gwoza
By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja   

Following the rescue of 293 women and girls from Sambisa forest by Nigerian troops, the Borno State Government on Wednesday confirmed that the rescued women and girls are not the missing Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted a year ago by Boko Haram insurgents, but indigenes of Bumsiri village in Damboa Local Government Area of the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Dr. Mohammed Bulama, at a briefing, told journalists that the profiles of the 200 girls and 93 women rescued by the military on Tuesday showed that they were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from Bumsiri village.
The Borno government, through Bulama, commended the Nigerian Army for rescuing the 293 women/girls from captivity, adding that it still believed and hoped that other abducted persons would be rescued soon.
Bulama said the government had started making plans to put in place all the necessary structures to rehabilitate and reintegrate the freed 293 females back into the society.
“These girls and women rescued are still our daughters, just as much as the Chibok girls, and we have to commend the military for liberating them, hoping that the rest will equally be liberated.
“Though everyone had thought they were the Chibok girls because of the hype surrounding the abduction of the Chibok girls, but we should not lose sight that they are as important as the Chibok girls and those that are still in captivity which we hope would be liberated soon.
“But at the moment, we are looking up to the time the 293 women and girls would be handed to us so that we can begin the process of rehabilitating and reinterpreting them back to the society,” he said.
The government’s disclosure of the identity of the rescued females followed the growing speculation over the possible rescue of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists a year ago.
Thousands of women are believed to have been kidnapped by the insurgents in the last few years, but the kidnapping that drew the attention of the world was that of the Chibok schoolgirls.
Also commenting on the rescue of the 293 females from the Boko Haram enclave by the military, the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, in a statement by his media aide, Mallam Isa Gusau, said the military’s operation that led to the liberation was “gratifying regardless of whether or not the rescued women form part of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted by insurgents from Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State on April 14, 2014”.
The statement added: “The lives, safety and well-being of all citizens of Borno are of equal importance to him and as such he celebrates news about the rescue with so much excitement in a manner he would celebrate when the military succeeds in freeing the Chibok schoolgirls who he said are very dear to him as they are to the entire world given the fact that they were kidnapped under special circumstances when they were in school and captured in large numbers.”
The governor, in the statement, said his administration would prefer the military to remain the principal channel of information to the public since the rescue was a product of a military operation and in order to avoid multiple sources of information that could bring about mix-ups.
“I was so full of excitement, gratitude to God almighty and commendation to our gallant armed forces for this great humanitarian feat.
“For me, the lives, safety and welfare of all citizens of Borno State are of equal importance. These rescued women are daughters, sisters and perhaps also mothers whose lives are important not just to their loved ones but also to me as governor of Borno State whose mandate is to cater for the welfare of all those living in any part of Borno State regardless of who they are, their faith, gender, age, geopolitical origin, and other background elements.
“They are important to us and words cannot explain how pleased we are. We are very particular about the Chibok schoolgirls because of the peculiar manner in which they were kidnapped and how that kidnapping has redefined the Boko Haram insurgency.
“The Chibok schoolgirls are very dear to my heart because they were kidnapped, while they were in school. Their kidnapping was very symbolic because their kidnappers are opposed to Western education especially female education.
“The entire world, especially myself, is desperate about the rescue of the Chibok schoolgirls in order not to allow the ideology held by the insurgents to thrive and to encourage education which is the foundation of any human or society that seeks to develop,” he said.
Shettima, however, stressed that the rescue of the 293 women and girls was also very dear to him, stating: “I am as pleased as much as I would be when the Chibok schoolgirls are rescued by the special grace of God. I am very optimistic, prayerful and supportive of the military’s ongoing rescue and counter-insurgency operations.
“We won't give up on the Chibok schoolgirls like I said two weeks ago. No sane parent gives up on a missing child. I have daughters and I know the love of a parent for the girl-child.”
In another reaction, former vice-president and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar also expressed elation at the news of the rescue of nearly 300 girls and women from the Sambisa forest by Nigerian troops.
The former vice-president said in a statement by his media office that it was unacceptable that hundreds of women, girls and boys had been abducted by Boko Haram over the last couple of months.
“While we rejoice over the rescue of the women and girls, we urge that our military continues steadfastly in the operations until all abducted Nigerians have been rescued and territories recaptured,” Atiku said.
The Turaki Adamawa expressed his unwavering support for Nigeria’s military forces in their ongoing mission to restore peace and the country’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian military said yesterday that it had transported the women and girls rescued from Boko Haram to the hilly border town of Gwoza, as it seeks clues to the whereabouts of the Chibok girls.
A military spokesman said the rescued girls would be transported for final checks to Abuja or Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
“We will take them to Abuja or Maiduguri for further investigation to determine whether Chibok girls were among them and where they come from,” military spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, told Reuters.
While Boko Haram has snatched at least 2,000 women and girls from their families since the start of 2014, according to Amnesty International, the mass kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls has become a symbol of the insurgency that has plagued Nigeria for six years.
Diplomats and intelligence officials have said they believe at least some of the Chibok girls were being held in Boko Haram’s heavily fortified camps in the Sambisa forest, although US reconnaissance drones have failed to find them.
Analysts believe the captured schoolgirls may be used as human shields by the militants.
Women abducted by the group have been forced into sexual slavery or combat, Amnesty International said on April 14 in a report to mark the anniversary of the Chibok kidnapping.
For parents of the missing Chibok girls, news of the liberation of hundreds of women fired hopes of seeing their daughters alive.
“Since I heard the news it’s like I'm in heaven,” said Esther Yakub, whose daughter Dorcas was kidnapped. “I’ve never doubted the possibility of getting her back despite the news that has been flying around about all manner of dangers that could have befallen them.
“I'm just waiting for the moment when they hand her over into my arms.”
Boko Haram has been on the back foot since neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroun joined Nigerian forces in a joint operation against the group this year.

Okonjo-Iweala: FG to Pay Oil Marketers N156bn Subsidy Claims 30 Apr 2015 Font Size: a / A

Okonjo-Iweala: FG to Pay Oil Marketers N156bn Subsidy Claims

30 Apr 2015
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  Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
By James Emejo in Abuja   

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Wednesday said the federal government would disburse N156 billion to oil marketers today in order to arrest the fuel shortage nationwide.
She also said efforts were being made to ensure that federal civil servants get their salaries.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja shortly after the opening of the 20th conference of Directors General of Customs and Excise of the World Customs Organisation, West and Central Africa Region, she explained that the amount due to oil marketers included N100 billion in IOUs, an informal document acknowledging government’s debt to them, which was now due, as well as interest rate differentials amounting to N56 billion.
According to her, “On the issue of oil marketers, we have really been working with them and we have been dialoguing with them all along. We paid them N350 billion in December, we paid them N31 billion for foreign exchange differentials; and by tomorrow, we will be paying them N100 billion which we gave them as IOUs as well as their interest rate differentials of N56 billion.
“So I am about to go and sign to get that paid and I think Nigerians would agree that government is making maximum efforts to accommodate the oil marketers. They are also Nigerians and they also need to cooperate with us…
“In this very difficult environment where revenues are constrained, we are doing our maximum, we have prioritised them because we don't want Nigerians to suffer. But they (marketers) too need to cooperate with Nigerians and also be good and patriotic citizens.”
On the delay in paying salaries of federal civil servants, she assured Nigerians that workers would get payment alerts by today.
“As I speak, salaries are being paid, so between today and tomorrow, they will get their alerts. So there’s no problem,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde, has  said he has mobilised 23-member countries of West and Central Africa to establish a common understanding of coordinated border management to jointly tackle insurgencies and diseases, particularly the Ebola virus, as well as improve trade facilitation in the region.
He said the aim of the proposed deal is to remove obstacles to improved revenue generation of member countries amid the current fiscal challenges caused by depressed oil prices.
He also disclosed that about 28 revenue offenders were successfully prosecuted by the NCS in 2014, adding that more cases were being prosecuted in the courts.
Dikko Inde said efforts would be made to intensify the fight against smuggling so as to allow people use approved routes for trade, a move expected to further boost revenue collection for the government.

Buhari Inaugurates Transition C’ttee as Jonathan Warns Against Parallel Govt 30 Apr 2015 Font Size: a / A

Transition Com'ttee ; President Elect General Muhammadu Buhari (M) flanked by the Vice President Elect Prof Yemi Osinbajo left and Chairman Transition Committee, ALH AHMED JODA , APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Chief Ogbonnaya Onoh in a group photo after the inauguration of President Buhari Transition Committee in Abuja. APR 29 2015. SUNDAY AGHAEZE
• President-elect says he’s not on a witch-hunt 
• FG approves two universities, clarifies suspension of foreign affairs perm sec
Jaiyeola Andrews and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja  
Just as President-elect Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurating his 19-member transition committee led by Mallam Ahmed Joda, the outgoing administration led by President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday admonished him for forming a parallel government and overheating the polity.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) also rejected the terms of reference brought before it by the transition committee of the incoming administration led by Buhari.
Despite the reservations expressed by the present administration, Buhari while inaugurating his transition committee in Abuja, allayed fears that his government, which would assume office on May 29, will be used to persecute its predecessors or to pursue a personal vendetta.
He said government is a continuum and all that the incoming government needed to know was where the previous government stopped so that it would know where to continue.
Buhari, however, urged the committee to be meticulous and not to overlook the essentials of their engagement with the transition panel representing the outgoing administration.
“It is a simple matter but you must have the right information if you are to shape appropriate policy decisions. Needless to repeat that your committee and our government are not on a witch-hunt or to engage in fault finding.
“We want the facts and nothing but the facts, what has been done cannot be undone. Our job is to learn from the mistakes of the past in an attempt to avoid similar errors,” he said.
On the terms of reference for the committee’s assignment, Buhari said the committee would advise him on the details of the handover notes based on their honest assessment of the situation on the ground.
He said the transition committee has two weeks to conclude its assignment.
“Your job is to make sure that you do not overlook the essentials. The time given for you to complete your assignment, two weeks, is short but because of the postponement of the election for six weeks from February 14 to March 28, the transition period has been truncated, we are obliged therefore to fast track steps to May 29.
“I thank you all collectively and individually for accepting to serve on this committee at a very short notice. The change from one government to another always involves complicated operational challenges and we all know that government is a continuum but the incoming government needs to know where the previous government stopped so that it can know where to continue.
“Luckily, you are all outstanding men and women of competence and experience in different fields, so this assignment, onerous though it is, is well within your ability to accomplish.
“You are enquired to assess the information provided to you and advise me on its quality and accuracy,” he said.
Buhari said the terms of reference of the committee included developing a clear framework for liaison with the outgoing administration for purposes of a smooth handover/takeover and to receive handover documents from the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and itemise the most important or most urgent issues confronting the incoming government.
He said the committee was also saddled with reviewing and making a preliminary assessment of the balance sheet of government with particular emphasis on the status of the assets and liabilities of government; cash flow position of the government; quantum of public domestic and external debt of government and their deployment; government’s outstanding contractual obligations and its ability to meet such obligations; and the status of implementation of capital projects.
The committee is also expected to undertake a preliminary assessment of the security challenges facing the country and the counter-insurgency measures taken by the government thus far; and the counter-policy measures being implemented in the Niger Delta to deal with unrests and major economic crimes in the area.
In particular, the status of the Amnesty Programme, the readiness of the police and other national security and intelligence agencies in addressing threats to law and order, and to provide a brief overview of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Other terms of reference for the committee included to suggest “quick fixes” which will result in tangible, visible and practical measures so that “change” will be seen after 30 days, after 100 days, after six months of the administration taking office, and to make any other observations which in view of the committee would be helpful to the transition and take off of the new administration.
Speaking on the chairman of the committee, Buhari described Joda as a versatile person and “one of the few surviving links between First Republic civil service and the present day”.
“His versatility includes farming, industry and 21st century IT. He is one of Nigeria’s spiritual assets but let me warn you he is an exerting taskmaster. Few young men of his age can keep up with him,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the transition committee members, Joda said the committee was determined to do its best within the time that is allowed to help Buhari accomplish his wish and to make it possible for him to achieve his vision.
“We are going to try to begin to lay the foundation for a strong country where justice and peace will prevail. I think Nigerians entrusted you to this high position because they by themselves, perhaps under the guidance of God, have identified you as the person who they think will likely wipe away their tears and heal their wounds and put our nation on the path of greatness.
“I pledge everyone of us will give you the best and most earnest advice from the bottom of our hearts in order that our country, together in peace and unity, can realise our goals and aspirations.
“May I also take this opportunity to congratulate you and your vice-president for the confidence that the people of Nigeria have entrusted in you, and those who will work with you, and pray for God’s guidance and success in discharging your duties and your responsibilities to the people of Nigeria,” he said.
Confirming THISDAY’s exclusive report last Saturday, the committee has as its members, Joda, Dr. Doyin Salami (Vice-Chairman), Mr. Adamu Adamu (Secretary), Mr. Wale Edun, Mrs. Bola Adesola, Mr. Festus Odimegwu, Mrs. Nike Aboderin, Chief John Oyegun, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Senator Hadi Sirika, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, Alhaji Abubakar Malami (SAN), General Lawal Jafar Isa, Mr. Mohammed Hayatudeen, Mr. Solomon Dalong, Prof. Tam David West and Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
THISDAY further learnt that the inclusion of Lai Mohammed in the committee is aimed at arriving at an odd number in its composition, which could give the chairman the deciding vote on knotty issues should the need arise.
But just at Buhari’s transition committee was being given its terms of reference, Jonathan yesterday warned the president-elect against forming a parallel government and overheating the polity.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Convert presidential fleet to passenger planes – Agbakoba April 27, 2015 : Eniola Akinkuotu

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has urged the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, to immediately commence reforms in the aviation sector by converting the presidential fleet for public use.
Agbakoba, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said this in a statement on Sunday. He listed eight areas Buhari must concentrate on in order to succeed.
He said, “The aviation sector requires major reform. Nigeria has no presence in the aviation business. Nigeria Airways has been long comatose. Foreign aircraft dominate the Nigerian airspace and earn well over a trillion naira to our exclusion.
“A trillion naira is about a quarter of our entire national budget. The way forward is to redeploy all aircraft in the presidential fleet to form the hub of a new national carrier. Business for this new national carrier is easy to generate. I have proposed a bill, the Fly Nigeria Bill, to ensure that every government naira used to purchase a ticket must originate and terminate on a Nigerian carrier.
“The Fly Nigeria Bill, when passed into law, will create an instant market for our national carrier.”
Agbakoba said Nigerians were looking up to Buhari just as Americans looked up to Franklin Roosevelt for succour during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
He maintained that Buhari must concentrate on the fight against corruption, housing, constitutional reform, welfare, financial services, economic reform, national re-orientation and legal reform.
He said, “I see strong parallels between the great economic depressions that occurred in American in the 1930s and the present challenges in Nigeria. I will suggest that close attention be given to how President Roosevelt dealt with the challenges of the great depression that came to be known as “The New Deal”. Nigeria needs its own New Deal in very many directions.”
Agbakoba said in the area of housing, for instance, securing a mortgage had become almost impossible for low-income earners.
He said, “There is a shortage of housing for low-income earners and constantly growing housing demands (due to increase in population) that are unmet. Unfortunately, banks are reluctant to provide mortgage facilities to low-income earners.
“In order to solve the housing/mortgage challenges described above, the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company was established to promote home ownership and increase the availability and affordability of mortgage loans to Nigerians.
“In spite of the incorporation of NMRC on June 24 2013, not much has changed.”

Don’t marginalise S’East, S’South, Uduaghan warns APC April 28, 2015 : Eniola Akinkuotu

The Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, has warned the All Progressives Congress against marginalising the people of the South-South and the South-East as this could lead to crisis.
Uduaghan said this during a programme on Channels Television on Sunday.
The governor said the reports of the zoning of key offices by the leadership of the APC showed that the party might sideline the people of the South-East and the South-South because the people of the said geopolitical zones did not vote for the APC.
He, therefore, warned the party to run a government that would foster national integration.
He said, “Governor Rochas Okorocha said the APC is in the mainstream of the South-East but that is not true. If you monitor their meetings and the zoning (of key offices), they (APC) seem to be leaving out the South-East and the South-South because the zones did not vote for them.
“That is very dangerous because every segment of Nigeria must be carried along. This is because the thing that disenfranchises people and makes them to go back to trenches is very little. One of the issues in the last four years was that the North was not carried along but was neglected by this present government and there was an inflammation of the Boko Haram because of that.
“Boko Haram had been there before four years ago but because the North was not being carried along, people were unemployed; the group of people to be recruited was very much available. This can happen in any part of the country and that is why I am saying that they (APC) must first put Nigeria together and ensure that every segment of Nigeria has a sense of belonging. Don’t say these people are nobodies and you take them for granted, it would be very dangerous.”
On why President Goodluck Jonathan lost the election, Uduaghan said the President was surrounded by dishonest people and a team that was not as strong as those who managed his campaign in 2011.
Uduaghan said the defection of five governors from the Peoples Democratic Party in 2013 as well as the crisis in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum contributed to the PDP’s defeat.
He said, “Some people around him (Jonathan) were not telling him the truth. When you start elbowing people out this is what happens. For example, why should Olusegun Obasanjo leave the party? He is not somebody that you can take for granted in Nigeria. Why did we allow him to go?”

North-East deserves Senate presidency – Ndume

In this interview with JOHN ALECHENU, the senator representing Borno-South senatorial district and member of the All Progressives Congress, Ali Ndume, contends that the North-East deserves senate presidency
Your party leadership met last Wednesday night to deliberate on the zoning arrangement. Can you let us in on what transpired?
I was not at that meeting and our party is a party that thrives on rules and regulations. So, whatever the party is going to come out with is definitely going to be in the interest of the nation. So, I do not have any issue with that.
What is the demand of the people of the North-East geopolitical zone in the sharing of National Assembly posts?
Anything that is given to us will be okay. We have contributed so much as a zone. We even prefer to be given the best but we know that the best cannot be given to all. For instance, we prefer to be given even the presidency but that has been given to another zone and the vice-president has also gone to another zone. The party is considering all these and we are pushing our case. It is left for the party to decide what is in the best interest of the country, which is what the party stands for.
Are you contesting the position of Senate President in the event it is zoned to the North-East?
I have been a leader in the National Assembly and leadership is not something I am desperate about. But normally power is given to anybody by God. If it is the wish of the people for me and I have been saying this at all times that I do not want to be senators’ president or senators’ deputy president. I want to be senate president. The politics is something that is based on our experience and how some of you know us. But like I said, whatever decision that is taken by the party is what the North-East will abide by.
Why did you say the North-East deserves to be given the position of Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives?
You see, the North-East gave the second largest number of votes to the APC during the last general election. And like I said, if you are looking for people that are consistent being in opposition all this while, Borno and Yobe, in particular, have been consistent in opposition. Now that power has shifted from the former majority party, the Peoples Democratic Party, to the opposition and we are where we are today, the zone deserves top positions.
Secondly, we are the most devastated in terms of the level of insurgency and marginalisation during this political dispensation. Thirdly, the North-East is part of the poorest regions on earth according to the United Nations human development indices. Because of her natural position, we will need to be placed in key positions whereby we will not be lacking. Because we were marginalised, we are in a desperate need to ensure that he who is in the kitchen will never stay hungry. And lastly, in the last election, the North-East produced the second largest amount of votes for the APC and then we took over two states (Bauchi and Adamawa) from the PDP. So, this profile qualifies us to get the highest possible office that is available. That is our argument. But maybe, if the party has other considerations then we will look at it. But we should not blindly say because we want something, our own brother who may equally have his reasons should not be considered.
These are the considerations we want whoever is deciding the matter to look at. Then we have the people. We have the senators. In the South-East now, they do not have any senator in the APC. Even if you want to give them something, there is nobody to receive it. But here we have too many people that want to be given and the positions are few.

Group condemns Olanusi’s impeachment April 28, 2015 : Eniola Akinkuotu

A group, South West Progressive Youth Movement, has decried the impeachment of Ondo State Deputy Governor, Ali Olanusi, by the House of Assembly.
It also condemned the lawmakers, questioning their right to impeach the deputy governor.
The body accused Governor Olusegun Mimiko and the legislators of being guilty of the same offence for which Olanusi was impeached. It said the governor and the lawmakers should also be impeached.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos on Monday, the coordinator of the group, Taiwo Ajayi, said Mimiko and the lawmakers deserved to be impeached as well since they defected from the Labour Party to the Peoples Democratic Party.
He said, “We condemn Governor Mimiko in strong terms. Since the Ondo State deputy governor has been impeached for defecting from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress, members of the House of Assembly and the governor should be impeached for defecting from the Labour Party to the PDP.”
The group implored President Goodluck Jonathan to advise Governor Mimiko to rescind the decision in order to avert crisis.
The group also urged former Oyo State governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, to accept the result of the governorship election in good faith – for the sake of peace.
The group enjoined Jonathan, the National Assembly, the police and the Nigeria Bar Association to intervene in the face-off between Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and the 19 APC lawmakers
Ajayi said, “At the moment, Ekiti is under siege. We wonder where the governor derives the power to deploy armed soldiers in the streets of Ado Ekiti without any authority to question him.
“We wonder why in a democratic setting like ours, an occupant of one arm of the government will hold another arm of the government to ransom. This is unbecoming of Governor Fayose. We are all aware he once paralysed the administration of justice in the state before he was inaugurated as the governor.

Nigerians should pray for Buhari’ April 28, 2015 : Toluwani Eniola

A member of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Pastor Kehinde Ogunnusi, has urged Nigerians to pray for the success of the administration of the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.
Ogunnusi, in a statement on Monday, said the victory of Buhari was an act of God, stressing that only prayer could help the President-elect not to lose focus after his inauguration on May 29.
While commending party supporters who voted for Buhari and the Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, the party leader expressed optimism that the Buhari administration would restore the dignity of Nigeria in the comity of nations.
Ogunnusi, who spoke at a victory party of the APC in Lagos, said he joined politics “because of the vision of integrity and change which Buhari and the Vice-President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo symbolise.”
He added, “Nigerians should not to relent in their prayers; they should continue to pray for the success of this incoming government. Only God can sustain him and make him fulfill his promises. Buhari is God’s choice for Nigeria and we believe that within a short period, Nigeria would begin to witness positive changes.

Xenophobia: Group advises FG on job creation April 28, 2015 : Toluwani Eniola 1 Comment

A coalition of South-West Youths under the aegis of Oodua Youth Congress has blamed the Federal Government for the experience Nigerians are going through in South Africa over the xenophobic attacks.
The group, which described the attacks as barbaric and devilish, said if the government had provided jobs and the enabling environment for Nigerian youths, they would not have relocated abroad in search of greener pastures.
National President of the OYC, Keji Phillip, said this in a statement on Monday.”
The OYC said it was disappointed over the attacks and the manner it was being handled by the South African Government even as it called on South Africa to bring the situation under control.
The group advised the Federal Government to take youth unemployment seriously. It also urged the Federal Government to develop policies that would generate employment for Nigerian citizens.
The statement read, “The OYC with its unwavering commitments to the socio-economic development of all Yoruba youths urges our governments at all levels to take this unfortunate incident as another wake-up call to show the much needed commitment to providing our youths with decent employments, an enabling environment for wealth creation and an end to general hopelessness.
“The OYC calls on the government of South Africa to restore peace and harmony as the situation is capable of inciting international reactions. There are South African businesses in other countries, especially in the originating countries of the immigrants. These businesses are vulnerable to attacks if positive steps are not immediately taken.
“We are sad that South Africans, who other Africans stood by during their time of challenge, are showing hate to other African countries. The South African government should, as a matter of urgency, arrest and prosecute everyone involved in this inhuman act.”

Monday, 27 April 2015

Nigeria High Commissioner to South Africa Was Not Recalled -Obanikoro

Musliu Obanikoro, Nigeria Ministerf of state II, foreign affairs says Nigeria did not recall its high commissioner to South Africa.

Obanikoro made the statement after South Africa issued a statement bashing Nigeria for withdrawing its envoy.

READ: Xenophobia: South Africa Blasts Nigeria Over Envoy Recall, Says Remember The TB Joshua Case?

Disputing South Africa's claims via Twitter Obanikoro wrote, ''Please disregard rumours and reports that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recalled its High Commissioner to South Africa''.

''The MFA summoned the Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa for consultation. He was not recalled''.


Hero! Anambra Governor Donates His Entire Salary to the Less Privileged

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra has resolved to donate his salaries to the less privileged members of the society in the state.

Obiano said in Awka on Monday that he had sent a written instruction to his Principal Secretary, Mr Willie Nwokoye, to implement his wish with immediate effect.

''I have been donating it to the church since I became a governor,” he said.

He said that giving help to the less privileged in the society, through properly structured charity organisations, would make for more impact.

''After spending many fruitful years in leadership positions in the private sector, I earn enough pensions to sustain the needs of my modest family. So, I felt that my salary will be more useful if it puts a smile on the faces of some underprivileged members of society to whom the smallest amount of money will make a huge difference.’’

The governor added that he and his wife had always been deeply involved in charity and philanthropic activities, long before they went into public life.

He said that his administration had always carved out a place for the underprivileged members of the society.

The governor said that they had always award scholarships to physically challenged students in the state and set up rehabilitation centre for the destitute.

''We have picked up many destitute, including mentally challenged people whom we reunited with their families after healing and rehabilitating them. We shall continue to lend a helping hand to people in need as long as the Lord provides us with the resources and the good health to remember our obligations to Him,” he said.

Old People Are Selfish: Martin Onovo, NCP's Presidential Candidate Advises Buhari

Chief Martin Onovo, Presidential Candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) in the March 28 Presidential election has urged the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to recycle “old and overused politicians” in the incoming federal government.

Onovo gave the advice in Lagos at his award presentation ceremony where the Pan-African Students Congress (PASCON) honoured him. PASCON, an umbrella body that covers all students within the 51 AU recognised African countries, conferred on Onovo the “Pan-African Icon Award of Excellence” at the weekend.

According to him, the success of the APC- led administration depend on the fact that recycled, failed politicians must give room for fresh hands. “The old and recycled politicians have failed many times and must give room for younger people with brighter vision, to push the developmental agenda of this nation.

“This group of old people has a lot of self interest stopping them from fighting corruption. The new administration should be a merger between old and new. If we continue with business as usual, then sorry to Nigeria,” he said. According to him, the most important thing and the only way forward for Nigeria today is the government of national unity.

"If we keep fighting, four years will pass. Our objective should be national development. “If we do not have synergy, our effectiveness will be compromised. “APC campaign priority, corruption, which is number one, is a good one as Nigeria cannot go anywhere without tackling it.

“There is need to improve on power generation. If we don’t power the economy it will not grow,” he said. According to him, the nation owes its youth a clear direction and good education. “You can do all theoretically but action speaks louder than voice. It is critical that we act right and show them good example.

Part 8: The Way Home

Here are the key elements by which we become reconciled to the Father. Each is vitally important. Any, if absent, could keep our new relationship from being complete.
Our condition: First, we must understand that we are separated from God. The chasm dividing us is both wide and deep. We inherited a fatal defect at birth. As a result, we have lived our lives independently from him. The Bible emphasizes this stark reality: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If we can’t come to grips with the fact that sin separates us from God, we’ll never come home spiritually, for there is no need for a savior.
God’s remedy: Second, we need to be very clear in understanding who Jesus is and what he has done for us, in order that we might confidently place our faith in him. He bridged the chasm separating us from God. In the apostle John’s words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Jesus was not just a good man, a great teacher, an inspired prophet. He came to earth as the Son of God. He was born to a virgin. He led a sinless life. He died. He was buried. He rose again on the third day.

Boko Haram has released new images of it’s fighters and are now calling itself Islamic State’s West Africa Province.

Boko Haram has released new images of it’s fighters and are now calling itself Islamic State’s West Africa Province.
In March, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

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Boko Haram has formally declared an alliance with the Islamic State according to an audio record released on March 7, 2015, which was uploaded via a Twitter handle.
This comes one day after Nigeria said the army has launched attacks in Sambisa Forest, which is seen is the last hideout of Boko Haram.

There were reports that the 200 schoolgirls abducted by the group a year ago are being held in Sambisa Forest.
The Nigerian military are continuing operations in the forest as the terrorists have reportedly run out of arms and ammunition.
Boko Haram and ISIS are separated by nearly 2,500 kilometers geographically, but their operational and ideological similarities are highly inter-connected. Thus far, direct links between the two groups have not been documented, but Boko Haram’s verbal support for ISIS and its modeling aspects of the insurgency in Nigeria on ISIS’s strategy in Iraq and Syria suggests a potential ambition of Boko Haram for a closer relationship–possibly even direct collaboration.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Muhammad Sanusi II, the Emir Of Kano Slams Jonathan's Government, Praises Buhari And APC.

Muhammad Sanusi II, the Emir Of Kano Slams Jonathan's Government, Praises Buhari And APC.

He has said that the Kano votes were a cry by the people of Kano state against PDP's bad leadership and the mistreatment of their sons and daughters.

Sanusi said"all praise is to Allah that has chosen for the people of Kano the person they so wishes, in person of General Muhammad Buhari, rtd. This testifies that peoples votes are so important and people can with their votes replace bad government with the good”.

He reiterated that Kano state's people gave the highest votes (more than 1.9 million), and he noted that more than 2 million people were unable to vote during the elections.

Source: #Leadership

emir sanusi

More Threads in same category

Senatorial Advice For Buhari: Obasanjo Will Ruin You Like He Did Jonathan

Senator Rowland Owie, former Senate Chief Whip, has told General Muhammadu Buhari to avoid the former President Olusegun Obasanjo 'like a plague' if he wants to succeed as Nigeria's leader.

Speaking in Benin city, the senator said: “to Buhari, I thank God for you, but you must deliver on your promises and also build on what president Jonathan did.

“Above all, you must run far from OBJ! (Olusegun Obasanjo). If he can’t control your government, he will fight you.

“He has done it to all former presidents of Nigeria and even against MKO Abiola who was not sworn in.

“Never! never! I say never discuss with OBJ unless you have at least two of your aides present!”

To further buttress his point, he reminded Buhari that “half way into the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan, a man who sees nothing good in anybody, except himself, Obasanjo, started trouble making by naming presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

“First, it was Governor Sule Lamido as president and Governor Rotimi Amaechi as his Deputy! A respectable Lamido, a founding father of PDP, was being urged to fight PDP.

“Obasanjo lured most PDP governors in the North into rebellion against the PDP to destroy the platform that gave all of them relevance, including himself. The hate mood in the North for this election against Jonathan was such that, any candidate from the North would have won the election.

“The anger was that power must return to the North. Nigerians can see that rebellion against one’s own and betrayer of one’s party doesn’t pay.

“Governor Aliyu Babangìda of Niger State, who led the rebellion against Jonathan and the PDP, lost his election to the Senate and also lost his state."

Fight Grand Corruption, Create the International Anti-Corruption Court!

On August 7, Transparency International Uganda and Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda held a press conference. During the conference, before several media outlets, Mr. Peter Wandera, Executive Director of Transparency International Uganda,  and Mrs. Cissy Kagaba, Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda signed a petition calling for the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court and encouraged their fellow citizens to do the same.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Nigeria can be leader in oil palm export’

Nigeria can be leader in oil palm export’


Oil palm
The Managing Director, PZ Wilmar Limited, Mr. Santosh Pillai, said Nigeria could still be a world leader in palm oil production and export if the right steps were taken.
Pillai spoke at the presentation of the ISO 22000:2005 certificate to the company in Lagos by Bureau Veritas.
He said that a joint venture between PZ Cussons and Wilmar of Singapore had commenced exploration of opportunities in the agro-allied industry with the aim of kick-starting the oil palm revolution.
The JV is expected to deliver Foreign Direct Investment of $650m as well as backward integration through upstream investment in plantations, refining and downstream distribution.
“The core mandate of the JV is to develop local capacity of palm oil production through investment in plantations and construction of a 1,200-tonne per day refinery plus associated plant, producing a range of branded products, including edible oils and nutritional spreads,” Pillai said.
He added that in the last few years, PZ Wilmar had acquired three old plantations and a relatively new one, all in Cross River State, to make up 26,500 hectares plantations.
“Nigeria has the comparative advantage to be the world leader in oil palm production and export,” he said.
According him, with the ISO certificate, the company becomes the country’s first palm oil processing, packaging and distribution firm to complete the certification process.
“We are a world-class company. That is why we went for a world-class certification. With this feat, we have affirmed our commitment to delivering safe and wholesome products for the well-being of consumers through our leading brands of vegetable oil, Mamador and Devon Kings,” he said.
The ISO 22000:2005 is an international standard on food safety that confirms that a company’s supply chain is under control and that all products from the factory to value chain and the consumers have safety qualities.
The Technical Manager, PZ Wilmar, Mr. Nana Damoah, said beyond quality assurance, safety of food must be taken seriously.
“The ISO 22000:2005 gives us food safety, which shows that our products are guaranteed and can be trusted,” he said.

Buhari’s green options

“I assure all foreign governments that Nigeria will become a more forceful and constructive player in the global fight against climate change…”
-President-elect Muhammadu Buhari
Now that Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress’ candidate in the last presidential election, has won and the euphoria of victory has died down, Nigeria is now faced with the hard realities of national life. My guess is that with the prevailing economic hardship still biting hard, and many politicians defecting from every shady corner to the victorious party, the question now on every lip is: “How exactly will this CHANGE come?”
The Nigeria of today reminds me of a popular track by the late hip hop icon, Heavy D, which goes: “Now that we found love what are we gonna do with it?” Yes, Nigeria wanted an alternative. Yes, Nigeria wanted change. Yes, Nigeria wanted Buhari. And we got them. But now, what are we going to do with them? Some public commentators are already asserting that Nigerians are impatient; and should they wait in vain without seeing immediate change in their socio-economic lives, their shouts of “Hosanna!” shall soon turn to “Crucify him!”
This is why I do not envy Buhari. Honestly, many are not ready to accept his candid explanation of “I am not a miracle worker.” They just want him to work miracles; after all, his coming to power is simply a work of miracle.
The international community is not left behind. They have their own expectations. In fact, it was Buhari that wet their appetite. During his acceptance speech, he was clear in his message to the world: Expect Nigeria to become more forceful in the global fight against climate change. The truth is that Nigeria’s stance on climate change is deemed critical, given it is Africa’s largest economy, the continent’s top oil producer and among the world’s largest suppliers of natural gas.
The moment Buhari told the world his incoming government would lead Nigeria in a more pronounced and concentrated fight against climate change, the global green community fell in love with him. That less-than-a-sentence expression of green commitment went viral in the world media. Buhari, being a man of few, but “bankable,” words, attracted an instant faith from concerned stakeholders. In fact, a couple of my green friends in Nigeria and abroad called to express their pleasant surprise at the manifest renaissance the environmental sector was about to witness under the President-elect. More so, coming on the heels of a report that predicted that Nigeria is now set to become Africa’s only global superpower, there could not be a better indication of assertion of power than this. Of course, climate change is the new chessboard in the global power game.
In addition, as the student of history that I am, I could not help but notice another sentimental slant to the whole scenario. Buhari’s remarks cut an instant tableau of a perfect déjà vu. Being an aged man in a world ravaged by ecological disasters right, left and centre, he instantly reminded me of World War II; when Britain’s equally aged war-time leader, Sir Winston Churchill, stubbornly assured the world of victory under an atmosphere of fear and total sense of defeat brought about by ruthless bombardment from the ubiquitous war machine of the Axis Powers.
History beckons on President-elect Buhari. Just like Churchill, he could become his country’s most historic statesman. Faced with a trailer load of national emergencies amidst fast-disappearing oil wealth, it will take superhuman genius to navigate Nigeria into safe waters. Yet, it is in times like this – when a country is in its most critical epoch of national survival – that Providence throws legendary leaders to a struggling citizenry.
Surely, there are very tough decisions that must be made by the incoming government, but a few viable options before it, because we have tried many things and even abandoned a few along the way; and Nigerians do not have the patience for fresh merry-go-round trips. But thank goodness, there are green options before Buhari.
To start with, it will not be out of character for him to go for green solutions. He is a natural green. Clean, calm and conservative in taste and habits, Buhari is a man that can understand energy efficiency as a matter of policy — which is at the core of green economy.
Secondly, Nigerians are easily impressed, and are really good people with good taste. Applying green options to governance will have the expected wow effect among the populace; and this could potentially become the miracle we have all been waiting for. I am positive that if the funds wasted in bogus projects are rightly channelled into green solutions in all aspects of the national infrastructure, our country shall become a global player overnight.
During Buhari’s first coming as military head of state, he introduced the nationwide environmental sanitation programme. At that time, the project resonated with a people that yearned for a better Nigeria; and actually brought sanity to the country’s environment. This can only mean that the President-elect has his personality and natural proclivity going for him, though one would be forgiven for doubting the green credentials of the men that currently surround him and that will run his government with him.
Nevertheless, Nigeria today is more complicated and needs more than mere sanitation. We need green jobs, green homes, green power supply, and in fact, a green future, where coastal community dwellers could go to sleep without fear of being submerged by a surging ocean before they wake in the morning. Where people living at the fringes of Northern Nigeria could still farm in dry land without fear of sudden drought or an overnight sandstorm that could bury all they laboured for.
Nigeria needs to become a giant not in words, but in deeds. It is just as well that the General declared that our country would become proactive in the fight against climate change; and that is good news for people like me, because today we are so weak in that fight that we really ‘suck’!
For instance, Gabon two weeks ago became the first African country to submit its new climate action plan to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The whole world agreed that every party to the Kyoto Protocol should submit its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution as its plan of action: a precursor to the climate change agreement which will be reached at the UNFCCC COP 21 to take place in Paris this December.
Including Gabon, 35 parties to the UNFCCC have formally submitted their INDCs, covering all the countries under the European Union plus the European Commission, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and the United States. If you asked me, a serious giant of Africa should be in this early list.
And because Buhari has vowed to fight corruption, I must comment that corruption is about to totally destroy the renewable energy industry in Nigeria. Instructively, Buhari has said in one of his campaign outings that if the country does not kill corruption, corruption will kill it. So, he must start by removing the rot in the country’s green sector. Indubitably, this sector has the potential to create millions of jobs, engender a pollution and disease-free country; and on top of that, generate enough power to bring us at par with any developed nation. To be sincere, the benefits of embracing green options are enormous. But next week, we shall look at these options we have been talking about.
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NNPC blames fuel scarcity on elections, threatens hoarders

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has blamed the prolonged fuel scarcity experienced in Kaduna and Nasarawa states and the Federal Capital Territory on the recently concluded general elections.
It also threatened to sanction marketers who hoard and divert the product, stressing that this had led to artificial scarcity of petrol in the affected states and the FCT.
In the past two weeks, petrol scarcity in Abuja and its environs had gone from bad to worse but the NNPC had kept mum on the development during the period.
Although the situation seemed to be abating by Wednesday as more filling stations sold the product, our correspondent observed that there were still long queues at the few outlets that dispensed petrol to motorists.
The PUNCH had in the past three weeks consistently reported how motorists were spending several productive hours on queues, all in a bid to get fuel.
But reacting to the development through a statement on Wednesday, the NNPC said “the noticeable queues at fuel stations in the FCT and its environs will soon become a thing of the past as the corporation has increased fuel truck-out from the Suleja depot to Abuja to ease distribution challenges.”
“The artificially induced distribution challenge in the FCT was as a result of the few days lull in the loading gantries caused by the recently concluded general elections across the country,” it added.
While calling on members of the public to resist the temptation of hoarding, product diversion and panic buying of petroleum products, the NNPC noted that it currently had enough products in strategic reserves to meet 30 days’ forward consumption.
The corporation noted that a special monitoring team had been deployed to check incidents of product diversion by “some unscrupulous marketers and ensure that appropriate sanctions are brought to bear on perpetrators of such unpatriotic acts.”
In a similar development, the management of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has assured of steady and adequate supply of petroleum products across the country.
The Executive Secretary, PPPRA, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, gave the assurance against the backdrop of fears of shortfalls in supply and distribution of Premium Motor Spirit.
Ahmed, in a statement, said the PPPRA’s national petroleum products stocks data indicated that the country currently had 46-day national products sufficiency.
This, he said, comprised both land-based stock of over 28-day sufficiency and marine stock of about 18-day sufficiency.
He stated that daily PMS discharges by vessels were ongoing at jetties and depots nationwide and explained that currently, about 13 vessels were discharging petrol at various depots and jetties in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Okrika and Oghara, with another 16 more vessels offshore Lagos waiting to discharge.
Ahmed gave an assurance that trucking of product had been ongoing at coastal depots following appeals made to the National Association of Road Transport Owners, adding that security agencies had also assured NARTO of the safety and security of its trucks and drivers.
While appealing to Nigerians to be calm and not engage in panic buying, the PPPRA boss warned that the agency would not hesitate to sanction any marketer or depot owner caught hoarding fuel.

Union Bank adopts new technology to improve efficiency

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc says it has deployed a new core banking application to modernise its infrastructure and improve operating efficiency.
The application, called oracle flexube universal banking solution, helps to improve business operations and enhance the customer experience, according to a statement by the lender.
The statement quoted the Chief Information Officer, Mr. Yomi Akinade, as saying that the bank would be enhancing and standardising its operations across the country by leveraging the capabilities of the new technology.
“We will have a common operating platform in our extensive network of over 320 branches across Nigeria,”   he added.
Akinade, who said Union Bank introduced the platform on April 7 this year, noted that the lender had implemented over 70 technology projects since 2010.
“There are three key areas on the over 70 technology projects, which are improving customers’ services, securing customers and the bank’s data as well improving our productivity as an institution,” he said.
He, however, advised customers to be patient with the bank during the current transition period of the upgrade as the general public may experience some challenges.
The information officer said, “As you well know, when you go live with a major massive complex project like this, there will be teething issues. So, there are challenges and customers should understand this; but is for their own long term benefit; because we will have a much more superior service offering when the system runs fully.”
He said the bank was trying to bring all of its third party applications up in the earliest possible time, when over 90 per cent of those applications would be working.
According to him, some of the challenges being experienced with the current system include the maintenance of multiple servers in branches, and constant need for system enhancement when a new field is required on the system.
Others are income leakage since some charges and new products could not be automated or configured; customer mandate maintained on third party applications instead of the core banking application; complexity in report generation; audit trail on maintenances; and issue of account replication from the retail to the corporate modules.
With the upgrade to the oracle flexcube universal banking solution, the bank will begin to enjoy a central server which is being maintained at the head office. Akinade said, “A vital feature of the upgraded flexcube is that the application now has the capability to store customer image and signature. No withdrawals can be made on an account if no mandate is maintained. This functionality saves the bank the cost of paying vendors for maintaining third party applications and check the incident of fraud as no withdrawals can be made on an account if no mandate is maintained.”
The Group Managing Director, Union Bank, Mr. Emeka Emuwa, was quoted as saying that the new platform was in line with the bank’s goal of becoming a highly respected provider of quality banking services within six areas of focus.
“The six major areas of commitment we are focusing on include quality of customers experience, quality of client base, quality of talent, quality of banking platform, quality of professional standards and quality of the banks’ earnings.”

Transcop Hotels records N300m revenue drop, blames insecurity A

The Chairman, Transcop Hotels Plc, Mr. O’tega Emerhor, on Wednesday said a combination of factors such as insecurity in parts of the country as well as the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in 2014 affected the operations of the company.
He described the 2014 operating year as challenging for the hotel and tourism sector of the economy due to the prevailing security challenge as a result of the activities of insurgents.
Emerhor, while speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the company in Abuja, said that gross revenue dropped to N14.5bn in 2014 compared to N14.8bn in the previous year
He also said the profit after tax dropped by N1.1bn or 25 per cent from N4.4bn in 2013 to N3.3bn in 2014.
According to him, the operating profit also decreased by 24 per cent to N4.4bn from N5.8bn in 2013 due to increase in administrative costs as well as incremental cost of hosting the World Economic Forum in Africa.
“Gross revenue for the company remained largely flat at N14.5bn as against N14.8bn on the back of increased security challenges in the Federal Capital Territory and the effects of the Ebola Virus Disease,” Emerhor said.
Despite the challenges, shareholders of the hotel approved the sum of N2.8bn as dividend for the 2014 financial year. This translates to 37 kobo for every 50 kobo ordinary share.
The shareholders commended the board and management for declaring a dividend amid the hostile business environment.
The chairman said the company’s total assets grew to N69.5bn in 2014 compared to N66.4bn in the previous year.
“Notwithstanding the challenges we faced in 2014, we are excited and optimistic about the long term outlook of the hospitality industry in Nigeria and the position of Transcorp Hotels in this industry,” Emerhor added.
He said the company would over the next five years engage in phased approach in developing high-end hotels in Ikoyi and Ikeja in Lagos; Port-Harcourt, Rivers State; and Warri, Delta State, as well as a convention centre and apartment complex in Abuja.
He said the company would also leverage on the Transcorp Hilton brand and strong customer base to provide excellent services as well as achieve superior returns from the new assets.
Emerhor said the Transcorp Hilton Abuja would be upgraded this year to completely transform the existing facilities and amenities, and position it as a clear leader in Nigeria’s hospitality industry.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive of the company, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, said despite the bearish state of the stock market, it was able to raise N4.18bn, representing 52 per cent of the N8bn offer amount, from its recent Initial Public Offer.
He said the company would also require additional funding in the short and medium terms to enable it execute its expansion drive.
“To this end, we will be implementing a robust funding strategy, which includes the use of debt (bank and bonds), equity (third party participation) and quasi-equity over the next one to three years,” Ozigbo said.
He added that N316m was donated by the company to the Internally Displaced Persons Fund as part of a private sector-led initiative to support relief measures for the victims of insurgent attacks in the northern part of the country.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Regulator Frowns on Issuance of Dud Cheques 13 Apr 2015

Regulator Frowns on Issuance of Dud Cheques

13 Apr 2015
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CBN Office
By Obinna Chima
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rolled out punitive measures for bank customers that are fond of issuing cheques against unfunded accounts.
The central bank, which stated this in a letter to all banks posted on its website recently, said it had noted with great concern the impunity with which some bank customers issue dud cheques on their accounts despite the provisions of the Dishonoured (Dud) Cheques Act of 1977 and CBN's recent directives to banks’ customers to desist from such practice.
It therefore stated that in order to sustain the positive achievements already recorded in the Nigerian Payment System, it was essential that confidence and integrity in the country’s negotiable instruments, especially cheques, be restored and enhanced.
In addition, the CBN disclosed that it had already started compiling and disseminating information on the serial issuers of dud cheques based on banks’ returns, adding that on completion of the compilation process, the financial institutions would be required to among other things, recall/cancel all unused cheque books issued to the serial issuers of dud cheques.
Also, the banks would bar the affected customers from use of the clearing system for a period of five years and forward the names of the dud Cheque offenders to the three private credit bureaux and the Credit Risk Management System (CRMS).
“The customers’ names would be listed on the database of the private credit bureaux and CRMS for a period of five years from the date of submission, after which offenders will be eligible for removal. However, if the offender is found wanting after the name is removed, such an offender shall be permanently reinstated in the data base of both the three credit bureaux and the CRMS.
“Bar the serial issuers of dud cheques from accessing credit facilities from the banking system for a period of five years. No institution shall, except with the prior written approval of the CBN, remove such a person’s name from the three CRMS.
“Perform status check on a potential customer from CRMS and at least two credit bureaux before on-boarding a customer,” the central bank stated.
Furthermore, in line with the punitive measures, the central bank pointed out that where an institution fails to report a serial dud cheque issuer in its return to the CBN CRMS and the private credit bureaux as required, it shall be considered as concealment and misrepresentation of material fact, adding that the affected institution shall be penalised in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, LFN 2004 CAP B3 (BOFIA).
In addition, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) and Chief Risk Officer (CRO) shall be liable to sanctions in line with the relevant provisions of the BOFIA.
“Any Institution that contravenes the above directives shall be appropriately sanctioned. The measures are effective from the 1st of April 2015,” it added.

How To Tackle Boko Haram – EU Envoy

How To Tackle Boko Haram – EU Envoy

How To Tackle Boko Haram – EU Envoy

Head of European Union Delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States, Ambassador Michel Arrion, yesterday attributed the prolonged terrorist onslaughts in northern parts of the country to the hopelessness of the army of unemployed youths and wrong ideology.
The envoy also stated that there was a clear distinction in the prevailing Nigerian economic situation, which seems to favour the rich at the expense of the poor.
Speaking with newsmen in Ilorin on the sideline of the election observation in the country, Arrion said government must adopt a soft approach in de-radicalizing those that had been hypnotised by the ideology of Boko Haram in the NorthEast.
He explained that a battle could be won easily if necessary strategies were deployed promptly, saying that to win a war or peace was an uphill task.
The diplomat said upon winning the terror battle, the government must develop a counter-terrorism policy to permanently nip the ugly trend in the bud.
Arrion, who also set agenda for the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, on the dwindling economy, urged the incoming government to cut expenditure by plugging all leakages and improve on its revenue sources.
He tasked the new central government to enter into a sustainable synergy with the forum of state governors with a view to building better dialogue, which would in turn affect the nation’s socio- economic issues positively.
The envoy praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for setting precedents with the manner the 2015 general elections were conducted, saying it would serve as a template for African states preparing for elections.
Arrion said, “one has to make the distinction between the short term, medium term and long term. The short term certainly is to address the question of insecurity- Boko Haram. It is obvious. Nigeria has to recover full sovereignty on the NorthEast. But it is enough to win a battle. To win the battle is easy but to win a war or peace is much more difficult.
“Tomorrow you can recover the control of the territory, but you will not have destroyed Boko Haram because it would have been embedded somewhere. You will come back again and again in five or ten years. So in a short term, you have to win the battle. But you have short term to address the root causes of Boko Haram
“There are many reasons and many explanations for Boko Haram. But one element is certainly the hopeless situation of the unemployed youths plus wrong ideology. So one should not under-estimate the role of sectarianism and some deviations of sect. After winning the battle, you need to develop counter-terrorism policy and what the office of the NSA called soft approach.
“You have to de-radicalise people. You will have prisoners; those prisoners will have to be de-radicalised; their families, their brothers and Imams will have to be de-radicalised. So that is one thing.
“The second thing is certainly the question of economic situation of the country. Nigeria is in a serious situation regarding public finance, regarding budget. You have no control of the international price of the oil. Again in the short term, the new government will have to look at the budget, probably will have to cut expenditure, but more importantly, will have to increase the revenues.
“Here, I’m sorry to say, but you have to put in place a better tax and fiscal system with more equity in the system and probably the rich will have to pay taxes on their incomes. So income tax on individuals will have to be implemented gradually, but you have to start somewhere by increasing value added tax (VAT) and duties.
“It is very unfair because if you are rich or you are poor, you pay the same VAT be it 5 or 10 per cent rich or poor. 5 per cent for a rich guy is not a problem. 5 percent for a poor is very serious. So the second question of the economy is absolutely a top priority.
“The third one, which is more in the medium and long terms, is really to build what I called the institutions to really work on the role of the judiciary, the role of the parliament, to be a prompter. You have to build your system that we hope will remain by-partisan. Because today, you have two parties and we think it is good in terms of democratic development to have check and balance system within the federal system.
“So I hope also that the new government will be able to develop a better dialogue between the Federal Government and the voice of Governors’ Forum. They have a role to play. Today, you have PDP governors, you have APC governors. Why? Let’s have a global governors forum. The governors’ forum at the executive level is also important for the federal executive council to interact. I would say that there are a lot of innovations that you can relatively easily elaborate to improve the dialogue between the federal and the states government