Sunday, 21 January 2018
Headliners

Headliners (1839)

The war of words between Senator Isa Hamma Misau (Bauchi Central) and Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris deepened yesterday, with the Senate opening a probe into the senator’s allegations against the police chief.

The lawmakers constituted a special panel to investigate the police boss for alleged misappropriation of funds, illegal promotion and posting of senior officers and bribery.

Misau also brought up an allegation of infidelity against the IG.

The panel is also empowered to investigate claims that the IG put an officer in the family way and secretly wedded her in Kaduna.

Senate President Bukola Saraki named Senate Deputy Chief Whip Francis Alimikhena (Edo North) as the chairman of the special panel.

Other members are: Senators Nelson Effiong, Binta Garba, Obinna Ogba, Faseyi Duro, Abdulaziz Nyako and Suleiman Hukunyi.

The special panel is to probe the corruption allegation against the police boss. The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions is to investigate claims of professional misconduct made by Misau against the IGP.

The committee is to submit its findings and report in two weeks.

Saraki said: “We have listened to our colleague and we cannot ignore the allegations. We have a duty to fight corruption. These matters are weighty and we have to investigate the allegations. We will set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate these allegations and report back to the Senate

“The ad-hoc committee we will set up will deal with all the allegations about misappropriation of funds made against the IGP. We will refer the other issues about personal misconduct against the IGP to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to for investigations. “

The row between Misau, a former police officer and the IGP blew open in August, when the Bauchi lawmaker, in an interview, claimed that police officers paid bribes to get favourable postings and promotions.

The police dismissed the claim as the ranting of a disgruntled deserter.

The IG, through Force spokesman Jimoh Moshood, said Misau’s claims were unfounded.

Moshood added that Misau was only out to discredit the institution of the police.

The police image maker added that Misau deserted the Force and that he would  soon be declared wanted so that he would be made to respond to a disciplinary committee set up to investigate him.

The police claimed: “Misau dubiously absconded and deserted the police on September 24, 2010, when he was redeployed to Niger State Command, consequent upon which he was queried, in line with the Public Service Rules.

“The police also alleged that Misau had previously faced disciplinary investigation when he refused to proceed on Junior Command Course (JCC) 49/2008 at Staff College, Jos, between January 15, 2009, and June 19, 2009.”

Rising on Order 45 on the floor of the Senate yesterday, Misau told his colleagues that the police boss was yet to respond to all the allegations he made against him.

Misau said that rather than address the issues he raised, the police authority was busy dealing with trivialities, including insulting him and his father.

He added another dimension to his claims when he told his colleagues that the police boss hurriedly married an officer after he put in the family way.

The officer, Misau said, was already four months pregnant when the IGP hurriedly arranged a marriage ceremony in Kaduna State.

He said that the officer used to serve in the office of the IGP.

Misau claimed that the expectant officer was promoted despite her lack of qualifications.

The Bauchi lawmaker noted that the marriage between the police boss and the officer contravened the code of ethics of the police.

Misau said: “During the recess, a lot of things happened between me and the office of the IGP. I am a retired police officer and served for 10 years and my father was in the police too and served for 34 years. In fact, my father joined the police even before I was born.

“So when I speak about the police, I know what I am saying. When I speak about the police, I speak on authority. I was concerned about what was happening in the police in terms of bribery which led the IG to be scared.

“I called three serving officers and they confirmed to me that people pay much more than N500,000 to get promotion. Even the revenue the police is generating we know. Police is not supposed to generate money. Meanwhile companies pay money to police to provide security for them. This is an open secret. It is obvious that even people with questionable character have police backing with siren all over the place.

“One police officer is supposed to be for 400 people, but in Nigeria, it is one police officer to 800 people and an oil marketer, for instance, will have over 30 policemen, thereby depleting the few police we have while the ordinary citizens are left without adequate protection.

“Another thing I found out is that there is illegal diversion of funds by the IGP. Under the 2016 budget, there is a place where IG ought to buy Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), but he bought luxury cars without virement.”

On his claims that the IGP put an officer in the family way, Misau said: “I am aware that the IGP has impregnated a female officer in his office. Because he wanted to save his face, he hurriedly went ahead and married the woman. The wedding ceremony was held in Kaduna State.

“The female officer was already four months pregnant. This is against the rules of the Police Service Commission. You cannot marry another police officer while you are still serving. But the IGP has flouted that law.”

Posted On Thursday, 05 October 2017 01:10 Written by

A crisis of confidence has erupted in the oil and gas sector between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Edmund Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru.

The minister also accused the GMD of awarding $25billion contracts without consulting either his office or the NNPC Board.

He accused Baru of alleged insubordination, lack of adherence to due process and running a “bravado management style.”

Kachikwu said he was being sidelined by the GMD and other heads of parastatals on major decisions and appointments.

He asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call the NNPC chief to order to ensure due process and transparency in the oil and gas sector.

He also presented five prayers to President to save the oil sector from collapse.

The minister said he was always blocked from seeing the President.

Posted On Tuesday, 03 October 2017 23:08 Written by

• Urge govt to issue bonds for infrastructure project 

Participants at the 2017 Nigerian Debt Capital Markets Conference and Awards, organised by the FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange in Lagos, at the weekend, have urged Federal Government-owned firms companies to issue bonds for infrastructure project in order to expand the nation’s debt capital market.

Besides, they also urged government to ensure that all interventions and assisted funding must be issued in bonds, note form, and subsequently listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), or FMDQ platform.

A debt issue is a fixed corporate or government obligation, such as a bond or debenture. A debt issue is a financial obligation that allows the issuer to raise funds by promising to repay the lender at a certain point in the future and in accordance with the terms of the contract.

Indeed, the participants argued that if the nation’s debt capital market was expanded, there would be effective mobilisation, and allocation of financial resources to fast-track economic growth.They added that robust debt capital market would go a long way to boost the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), and make it more competitive in the global market.

Furthermore, they suggested that regulators must fast-track the issuance process, build capacity, and raise the standard of issuers in the market.
Specifically, the Chief Executive Officer, Chapel Hill Denham, Bolaji Balogun, argued that government must be strategic to fast-track Nigeriaís economic growth, and stimulate activities in the market.He argued that there was the need to transform the market from primary commodity market to a robust debt capital market to develop the country and secure its future.

According to him, the country can witness a reasonable level of growth if government compelled firmsí receiving concessions or subsidies to float initial public offerings (IPOs) in the market within three years.

Government must privatise all major government-owned assets, and list them in the market to grow this economy in a sustainable manner. The economy had witnessed unprecedented drag over the years. Infrastructure in Nigeria needs to be financed largely in local currency because the U.S. dollar trail risk for Nigeria to price everything in dollar denominated currency is huge. The current impact in power on infrastructure owners, banks, government and the people is plain to see.î

The Partner, Templars Law, Zelda Akindele, said Nigeria would witness less volatilities associated with foreign exchange (forex) issues if the nationís debt capital market is considered a major option for project financing.If there is sufficient debt capital market, the forex issue would have been less painful. We need to tap into local sources financing to fund infrastructure and support investment in Nigeria.

There are large spaces for innovations, product offerings, and development, and these products must meet the needs of the market to accelerate growth.
The Managing Director and Chief Economist, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, UK, Ms. Razia Khan, said Nigerian regulators must ensure increased collaboration with market players to enhance activities in the debt capital market.

There are regulations without full framework. Regulators must work hand in hand with the market players to improve transparent and disclosures in the market.The Managing Director, United Capital Plc, Mrs Oluwatoyin Sanni, had, in a recent interview with The Guardian, explained that Nigeria cannot expand its debt capital market without stable and lower interest rates and foreign exchange regime.

She said: “The Debt Capital Market will benefit from stable and lower interest rates on the shorter end of the curve. A stable foreign exchange regime must be created.“Economic policy stability and predictability, reduced activity by the Federal Government in the domestic debt capital market to avoid crowding out the corporate and sub-national segment.”

Posted On Tuesday, 03 October 2017 12:12 Written by

At least 59 people have been killed and another 527 injured in a mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert.

A gunman, named as 64-year-old Nevada resident Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel towards an open-air music festival attended by 22,000.

He killed himself as police stormed the room where 10 guns were found.

Investigators have found no link to international terrorism, despite a claim from so-called Islamic State.

In an address from the White House, President Donald Trump described the attack as "pure evil".

He praised the efforts of the emergency services, saying their "miraculous" speed saved lives, and announced he would be visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday.

With First Lady Melania by his side, he later observed a moment of silence on the White House lawn.

How did the attack unfold?

 A police scanner captures the moment police burst into gunman's room

The final shows of the three-day Route 91 country music festival were in full swing when the gunman struck.

Thousands were enjoying a performance by top-billing singer Jason Aldean when the first of several bursts of automatic gunfire rang out - hundreds of shots, witnesses say. That was late on Sunday night - 22:08 local time (05:08 GMT on Monday).

Hundreds of concert-goers scrambled for cover, flattening themselves against the ground, rushing for the exits or helping others to escape as Paddock sprayed the site from his high vantage point.

People at concert duck behind barrier and take coverImage copyrightGETTY Hundreds of concert-goers fled the scene or ducked for cover amid heavy gunfire

"One man had blood all over him and that's when I knew something was seriously wrong," Mike Thompson from London, told the BBC.

"People were running and there was chaos."

Las Vegas city map showing location of hotel from where gunman shot at least 50 people dead at a country music concert, 2 October 2017

Concert-goer Mike McGarry, who survived, told Reuters he lay on top of his children when the shots rang out.

"They're 20, I'm 53. I lived a good life," he said.

Many hotels on the Las Vegas strip close to the scene were placed on police lockdown and parts of Las Vegas Boulevard were shut.

Aldean, who was rushed off-stage, shared his reaction on Instagram.

"Tonight has been beyond horrific," he wrote.

Las Vegas police say the number of people injured stands at 515.

What do we know of the gunman?

Suspected gunman - undated imageImage copyrightPADDOCK Suspected gunman Stephen Paddock - undated image

Stephen Paddock, from a community of senior citizens in the small town of Mesquite north-east of Las Vegas, booked into the hotel on 28 September, police say.

His motives for carrying out the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history remain a mystery. Some investigators have suggested psychological issues, but there is no confirmation of this.

His brother, Eric, is dumbfounded that he acted this way.

 
Eric Paddock says he is in total shock after police named his brother, Stephen, as the shooter

Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo described the shooting as a "lone wolf" attack.

"We have no idea what his belief system was," he said.

So-called Islamic State (IS) has claimed to be behind the attack, saying that Paddock had converted to Islam some months ago.

But the group provided no evidence for this and has made unsubstantiated claims in the past.

FBI Special Agent Aaron Rouse told a news conference: "We have determined at this point no connection to an international terrorist organisation."

IS's claim of responsibility for the Las Vegas attack is very unusual in that the perpetrator's profile does not fit that of supporters or "soldiers" that the group has claimed in the past, writes Mina al-Lami, who monitors jihadist groups for the BBC.

If true, his suicide would be deemed wholly "un-Islamic", she adds.

Jihadist suicides involve the assailant blowing himself up in order to kill those around him.

A couple, wearing country music hats, cower together at the scene of a shooting at musical festivalImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
A couple at the concert take cover after gunfire was heard at country music festival

The investigation continues to gather pace, with searches at Paddock's Mesquite home, where more weapons were found, and a second property.

Paddock lived in Mesquite with Marilou Danley. Police have interviewed her but say she does not appear to have been involved as she was out of the country. They are hoping to speak to her again.

Police say he used some of her identity documents to check in to the Mandalay Bay.

Who are the victims?

The authorities have yet to confirm the identities of any of the 58 killed.

Jordan McIldoon, 23, from British Columbia in Canada, has been identified as a victim of the attack by CBC News.

A nurse, Sonny Melton, of Big Sandy, Tennessee, has been named as another victim by The Jackson Sun newspaper.

In a Facebook post, his wife, Dr Heather Gulish Melton, said she "lost my true love and knight in shining armor. I appreciate the prayers but I just need some time."

An off-duty Las Vegas police officer was another of those who died.

Chart showing mass shooting incidents in the US

What gun laws does Nevada have?

Nevada has some of the least stringent gun laws in the United States.

People are allowed to carry weapons and do not have to register themselves as a gun-owner.

Background checks are done when people buy guns, but they are also allowed to sell them privately.

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a shooting six years ago, called for political leaders in Washington to introduce tougher gun laws following the Las Vegas attack.

Her husband Mark Kelly read out a joint statement on the steps of the Capitol saying thoughts and prayers from the White House were not enough to stop the next shooting.

Posted On Tuesday, 03 October 2017 01:25 Written by

At least 17 people were killed over the weekend in clashes linked to a symbolic declaration of independence by Cameroon’s anglophone minority, concurring sources said on Monday.

Amnesty International said “at least” 17 people were killed by security forces in the country’s two English-speaking regions, a figure that concurred with a toll given by official sources, who said two Nigerians were among the dead. An earlier tally compiled by AFP put the death toll at seven, who were shot dead by security forces.

AFP

Posted On Monday, 02 October 2017 23:59 Written by
Fifty-eight people are now known to have been killed in a mass shooting at an open air concert in Las Vegas while another 515 were wounded, police said Monday.

“The number of people who have died associated with this event has increased. Right now we’re using the number of 58,” Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

“The number of injured — we are using the number of 515.”

AFP

Posted On Monday, 02 October 2017 16:59 Written by

At least seven people were killed in Cameroon’s restive anglophone belt at the weekend as a separatist group made a symbolic declaration of independence.

The separatists chose October 1, the anniversary of the official reunification of the anglophone and francophone parts of Cameroon, to declare independence for “Ambazonia”, the name of the state they want to create.

Since November, the anglophone minority has been protesting against perceived discrimination.

The government deployed security forces at the weekend in English-speaking regions, notably Buea in the southwest and Bamenda, the main town in the northwest and a hub of anglophone agitation.

Several people were admitted to hospital in Bamenda Sunday after clashes between demonstrators and police, according to a medical source.

“At least one person was injured by live fire” in Bamenda, where the situation was “very tense”, a source close to the local authorities told AFP.

The “security forces had to resort to tear gas and sometimes to shots to disperse the protesters”, the source said by telephone.

Bamenda residents contacted by AFP reported “shooting” by the security forces without giving further details.

– ‘Real bullets’ –
One of the leaders of the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF), Joshua Osih, told AFP the security forces were “firing real bullets at the protesters” but stressed that he was not a supporter of the secessionist movement.

In Ndop, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Bamenda, two people were “shot dead”, according to sources, while one was killed in Kumbo on the sidelines of the protests, city mayor Donatus Njong said.

Also in Kumbo, three prison inmates were shot and killed trying to escape while security forces were mobilised for the deployments in anglophone regions, a source close to regional authorities said.

A young man was shot dead by security forces on Saturday in the southwest town of Kumba, known as a rebellious city since the start of the protests, sparking clashes between security forces and the local population.

“They fired at him during a security operation,” a nurse who requested anonymity told AFP. The incident was confirmed by a security source and several local residents contacted by phone.

Cameroon’s long-serving president, 84-year-old Paul Biya, took to social media Sunday to condemn “all acts of violence, no matter where they come from or who is responsible.”

The European Union called on all sides to be responsible and “respect the rule of law and avoid any act of violence.”

The crisis provoked by the protests, which was exacerbated at the start of 2017 when internet access was cut for three months, has intensified in recent weeks with the push to symbolically proclaim independence of the English-speaking regions.

On September 22, “between 30 and 80,000” people demonstrated across Cameroon’s anglophone regions, according to estimates by the International Crisis Group (ICG).

– ‘No longer slaves’ –
The symbolic declaration of independence was made Sunday on social media by Sisiku Ayuk, who describes himself as the “president” of Ambazonia.

“We are no longer slaves of Cameroon,” he said.

“Today we affirm the autonomy of our heritage and our territory.”

Ahead of the declaration, Cameroonian authorities announced a temporary curb on travel and public meetings across the Southwest Region, adding to a curfew in the neighbouring Northwest Region, also English-speaking.

Internet access has been disrupted since Friday, according to an AFP journalist, despite government assurances that there would be no cutting of access in the anglophone areas.

The majority of Cameroon’s 22 million people are French-speaking, while about a fifth are English speakers.

The legacy dates back to 1961, when a formerly British entity, Southern Cameroons, united with Cameroon after its independence from France in 1960.

The anglophone minority has long complained about disparities in the distribution of Cameroon’s oil wealth.

Since November, the anglophone minority has been protesting against perceived discrimination especially in education and the judicial system, where they say the French language and traditions are being imposed on them, even though English is one of the country’s two official languages.

Most anglophone campaigners want the country to resume a federalist system — an approach that followed the 1961 unification but was later scrapped in favour of a centralised government run from the capital Yaounde. A hardline minority is calling for secession.

Posted On Monday, 02 October 2017 12:29 Written by

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday charged the Armed Forces to remain loyal to the Nation in the face of agitations from various sections of the county.

The President, who addressed troops fighting the Boko Haram terrorists in the North East as part activities marking the Nation’s 57th Independence anniversary, said such loyalty was imperative to sustain the nation’s peace and unity.

“Even for selfish reasons, your loyalty ought to be to the centre, first.

“The security of this nation is in the hands of God and in the hands of the security.

“If you don’t stand firm, I assure you if Nigeria doesn’t exist, the first to be insecure are the security agencies because no matter how many parts Nigeria will be divided, nobody will take another General to preside over his country,” Buhari said.

On those agitating for separation, Buhari dismissed them as noise makers, adding that he knew much about the nation, having participated in the 30 months civil war which began in 1967 and ended in 1970.

“I was involved in civil war for 30 months, I know much about this country.

“Those making noise about the stability of this country were not born then. They don’t know what it means to be a nationalist,” he said.

To the troops, he said: “I thought the only honour I can present to the military and other stakeholders on this great day is to come and address you, who are in the frontline.

“I am pleased with the Nation and responsible opinions from all over the world, congratulating this administration for the progress we have made.

“I personally thank the Governor of this state, Borno, Kashim Shettima for his courage throughout the crisis – Boko Haram insurgency.”

The president gave the assurance that under his leadership resources would be made available to support the Armed Forces.

He said that unless the nation is secured nobody would be able to pursue his or her business.

“I expect in return from you to be loyal and loyalty is from the bottom upward, from private to Lance Corporal, Corporal, up to Sergeant, Generals, Service Chiefs, otherwise the centre will not hold.

“But this centre is determined to hold,” the President said.

NAN

Posted On Sunday, 01 October 2017 18:54 Written by

Text of  President Muhammadu Buhari’s 57th Independence Anniversary broadcast to the nation. 

My dear Nigerians,

October 1st remains a special date for all Nigerians as this marks the day when we attained one of the most precious of human desires — freedom.

Over the years the country has gone through trials and tribulations, but October 1st is always a day for celebrations.

It is a day for thanks giving, reflection and re-dedication.

It is also a day for remembrance. We should remind ourselves of the recent journey from 1999 – 2015, when our country happily returned to democratic rule.

However, in spite of oil prices being an average of $100 per barrel and about 2.1m barrels a day, that great piece of luck was squandered and the country’s social and physical infrastructure neglected.

We were left with no savings and huge infrastructure deficit.

The APC Government’s Campaign rallying cry to restore security, re-balance the economy and fight corruption was not all rhetoric.

The country must first be secured. The economy must be re-balanced so that we do not depend on oil alone. We must fight corruption which is Nigeria’s Number One Enemy. Our Administration is tackling these tasks in earnest.

In the past two years, Nigeria has recorded appreciable gains in political freedom. A political Party at the Centre losing elections of State Governor, National Assembly seat and even State Assemblies to the opposition parties is new to Nigeria. Added to these are complete freedom to associate, to hold and disseminate opinions. Such developments clearly attest to the country’s growing political development. But like all freedoms, this is open to abuse.

Recent calls on re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy.

As a young Army Officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war costing about 2m lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a re-run were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through.

I am very disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youths what the country went through. Those who were there should tell those who were not there, the consequences of such folly.

At all events, proper dialogue and any desired constitutional changes should take place in a rational manner, at the National and State Assemblies. These are the proper and legal fora for National debate, not some lop-sided, un-democratic body with pre-determined set of objectives.

Government is keeping up the momentum of dialogue with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to keep the peace. We intend to address genuine grievances of the communities.

Government is grateful to the responsible leadership of those communities and will pursue lasting peace in the Niger Delta.

SECURITY

On security, Nigerians must be grateful to our gallant Armed Forces for rolling back the frontiers of Boko Haram’s terrorism, defeating them and reducing them to cowardly attacks on soft and vulnerable targets.

Nigeria is grateful to its neighbours and the international community for the collective efforts to defeat this world-wide menace of terrorism.

Not even the most organized and most equipped police and security forces in the world can escape the menace of modern day terrorism, as we have seen in recent years in Europe and other parts of the world.

But we are not letting up. Our Armed Forces in an effort to enhance the operational capability of troops of OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE have established Mobile Strike Teams in the North East. These will ensure the final push to wipe out the remnants of Boko Haram.

In addition, through targeted air strikes most of the leadership and identified logistics bases and routes of the insurgents have been neutralized. The Armed Forces have established a Naval presence in the Lake Chad Basin as part of the coordinated military efforts to curtail the movements or re-emergence of the sect in the area.

Government is working round the clock to ensure release of the remaining Chibok girls, as well as other persons in Boko Haram captivity. Government will continue to support the Armed Forces and other security agencies to fight not only terrorism, but kidnapping, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers violence and to ensure peace, stability and security in our country.

ECONOMY

With respect to the economy, the Government has remained pro-active in its diversification policy. The Federal Government’s agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme, which I launched in November 2015, has been an outstanding success with:

  • N43.92 billion released through the CBN and 13 participating institutions,
  • 200,000 small holder farmers from 29 states of the federation benefitting,
  • 233,000 hectares of farmland cultivating eight commodities, namely Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, soya-beans, Poultry, Cassava and Groundnuts, in addition to fish farming.

These initiatives have been undertaken in close collaboration with the states. I wish to commend the efforts of the Governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ebonyi and Jigawa States for their support to the rice and fertilizer revolutions.

Equally commendable are contributions of the Governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau States for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and other crops.

With the abundance of rainfall last year and this year, agriculture has enjoyed Divine intervention.

Since December last year, this Administration has produced over 7 million 50Kg bags of fertilizer. Eleven blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons have been reactivated. We have saved $150 million in foreign exchange and N60 billion in subsidy. Fertilizer prices have dropped from N13,000 per 50Kg bag to N5,500.

Furthermore, a new presidential initiative is starting with each state of the Federation creating a minimum of 10,000 jobs for unemployed youths, again with the aid of CBN’s development finance initiatives.

Power remains a huge problem. As of September 12th, production of power reached an all — time high of 7,001 Megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedevilling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 Megawatts by 2020.

Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and Hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years of limbo, Mambilla Power Project has taken off.

Elsewhere in the economy the special window created for manufacturers, investors and exporters, foreign exchange requirements has proved very effective. Since April, about $7 billion has come through this window alone. The main effect of these policies is improved confidence in the economy and better investment sentiments.

The country has recorded 7 consecutive months of lower inflation, Naira rate is beginning to stabilize, appreciating from N525 per $1 in February this year to N360 today. Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession.

Furthermore, in order to stabilize the polity, the Federal Government gave additional support to states in the form of:

*State Excess Crude Account loans,

  • Budget Support Facility,
  • Stabilization Fund Release to state and local government as follows:
  • N200 billion in 2015
  • N441 billion in 2016
  • N1 trillion in 2017

Altogether totalling N1.642 trillion.

This was done to enable states to pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had been all but crippled over the years.

In addition, the Government’s current N500 billion Special Intervention Programme is targeting groups through;

  • Home Grown School Feeding Programme,
  • N-Power Job creation to provide loans to small-scale traders and artisans,
  • Conditional Cash Transfer,
  • Family Homes Fund and
  • Social Housing Scheme.

CORRUPTION

Fellow Nigerians,

We are fully aware that fighting corruption was never going to be a straightforward task. We expected corrupt elements to use any weapon to fight back, mainly judicial obstruction and political diversion. But we are determined to eradicate corruption from our body politic.

In this fight, the Government has:

  • Empowered teams of prosecutors,
  • Assembled detailed databases,
  • Accelerated the recovery of stolen funds.

The Administration’s new institutional reforms include:

  • Enforcing Treasury Single Account,
  • Whistle-Blowers Policy,
  • Integrated Payroll Personnel and Information System.

We have signed multi-lateral cooperation agreements on criminal matters with friendly countries. There are signs of increasing cooperation from the Judiciary. Recently the Chief Justice of the Federation directed Heads of all our Courts of first instance and Appeal to accelerate hearings of corruption cases and dismiss any judicial officers found to have been compromised.

Justice Salami has just been appointed to chair the Judiciary’s anti-graft committee. Government expects a lot from this Committee.

I commend the National Assembly for refocusing on its oversight committees. They should, in addition, ensure swift passage of enabling corruption laws. But fighting corruption is a bottom to top operation. I call on all Nigerians to combat corruption at every turn. By not asking for and refusing to accept a bribe, by reporting unethical practices or by blowing a whistle, together we can beat corruption. The government for its part will work for accountability at all levels – Federal, State and Local Governments. CHANGE will then be real.

As we enter the second half of our term of office, we intend to accelerate progress and intensify our resolve to fix the country’s challenges and problems.

Thank you and a happy holiday to all of you.

God bless our country

Posted On Sunday, 01 October 2017 12:37 Written by

Harry Kane stole the show as Premier League title challengers Tottenham cruised to a 4-0 win over Huddersfield at the John Smith's Stadium.

Man-of-the-moment Kane buried Tottenham's first chance early on and, after Ben Davies had put them 2-0 up, he struck with a brilliant solo effort to wrap the match up before half-time. Moussa Sissoko added a late fourth.

Spurs have won their last four games in all competitions and extended their winning run on the road to seven matches, while the irrepressible Kane took his goal tally in a productive September to 13 in eight appearances for club and country.

Huddersfield, facing their toughest test since promotion via the playoffs in May, had boasted the Premier League's second best defensive record this season -- but Mauricio Pochettino's side demonstrated the gulf in class.

Tommy Smith forced Hugo Lloris into a decent save in the fifth minute with a well-struck low drive and the Terriers showed they meant business by snapping into their early tackles.

But after Rajiv van La Parra's goalbound shot had been blocked by Eric Dier, Tottenham broke forward and scored with their first chance.

Kane chased Kieran Trippier's header and was allowed a free run on goal after Huddersfield defender Chris Lowe had misjudged the flight of the ball, with the in-form striker applying the usual clinical finish in the ninth minute.

Six minutes later the Londoners doubled their advantage. Dele Alli, back after suspension, Kane and Christian Eriksen all linked seamlessly on the edge of the area and Davies buried his chance at the far post after the ball had been unintentionally diverted into his path by Lowe.

Kane then made it 3-0 with a world class goal in the 24th minute. With his back to goal and surrounded by Huddersfield defenders, the number 10 turned and evaded them all before curling a brilliant left-footed finish inside the near post -- his seventh goal in a productive week.

Kane, the Premier League's Golden Boot winner for the last two seasons, failed to score in August, but followed up his midweek Champions League hat-trick against Apoel in brilliant fashion.

Alli went close to making it 4-0 when his shot after a neat turn inside the area hit a post, before Huddersfield striker Laurent Depoitre gave the home fans some cheer, firing in a shot from the edge of the area that clipped the crossbar.

Alli was booked by referee Neil Swarbrick for diving under goalkeeper Jonas Lossl's challenge on the hour-mark as Huddersfield battled gamely on.

To their credit, David Wagner's side did not capitulate, allowing Tottenham no further scoring chances, while the introduction of Scott Malone and Philip Billing for Lowe and Aaron Mooy gave them some impetus.

Van La Parra combined well with Depoitre in the closing stages, but the former's shot was blocked before Kane left the field to a rousing reception from all stands when replaced by Son Heung-min.

Sissoko, a 75th-minute substitute for Eriksen, sidefooted home his first goal for Spurs in time added on -- via a deflection off Christopher Schindler -- following Davies' cross.

Posted On Saturday, 30 September 2017 15:58 Written by
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