Wednesday, 21 October 2020

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Business and Economy

Business and Economy (1053)

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo fired multiple tweets on Friday, seeking understanding from the #EndSAR protesters, apologising and assuring them that government is responding to their demands.

Here is his message to protesters:

Dear Nigerians, I know that many of you are angry, and understandably so. We could’ve moved faster and for this we are sorry.

We understand that you want to see action from us and I’m here to tell you that work is ongoing. I chaired a meeting of 36 state governors and the Minister of the FCT (NEC), where we resolved to set up judicial panels of inquiry so we can see justice served, and fast.

The reason being that only state governors, by law, can set up judicial inquiries in their states. The hearings will be public.

With Mr. President’s approval, SARS has been completely disestablished, and none of its former members will feature in any police tactical units.

I am sending my deepest condolences to the families of Jimoh Isiaq, and all those who have lost their lives at the hands of wayward police officers. To those injured, I wish a full and speedy recovery.

We have proposed that each state government set up a Victims’ Support Fund, which @NigeriaGov will support. This is the least that we can do to compensate for the injustice suffered at the hands of errant officers.

We also understand that the issues that you’re raising are bigger than just SARS. They’re deep and systemic and we’re undertaking comprehensive measures that will revamp the police by addressing issues of welfare, service conditions and training.

On Monday, Mr. President also reiterated his commitment to these extensive police reforms.

We will continue to update and engage with you all on these action steps and the ones to come, in the spirit of transparency, so that you can hold us accountable. We are, after all, here to serve you and we owe you a duty to win back your trust.

Keep safe. God bless you. – YO

Posted On Saturday, 17 October 2020 01:01 Written by

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo fired multiple tweets on Friday, seeking understanding from the #EndSAR protesters, apologising and assuring them that government is responding to their demands.

Here is his message to protesters:

Dear Nigerians, I know that many of you are angry, and understandably so. We could’ve moved faster and for this we are sorry.

We understand that you want to see action from us and I’m here to tell you that work is ongoing. I chaired a meeting of 36 state governors and the Minister of the FCT (NEC), where we resolved to set up judicial panels of inquiry so we can see justice served, and fast.

The reason being that only state governors, by law, can set up judicial inquiries in their states. The hearings will be public.

With Mr. President’s approval, SARS has been completely disestablished, and none of its former members will feature in any police tactical units.

I am sending my deepest condolences to the families of Jimoh Isiaq, and all those who have lost their lives at the hands of wayward police officers. To those injured, I wish a full and speedy recovery.

We have proposed that each state government set up a Victims’ Support Fund, which @NigeriaGov will support. This is the least that we can do to compensate for the injustice suffered at the hands of errant officers.

We also understand that the issues that you’re raising are bigger than just SARS. They’re deep and systemic and we’re undertaking comprehensive measures that will revamp the police by addressing issues of welfare, service conditions and training.

On Monday, Mr. President also reiterated his commitment to these extensive police reforms.

We will continue to update and engage with you all on these action steps and the ones to come, in the spirit of transparency, so that you can hold us accountable. We are, after all, here to serve you and we owe you a duty to win back your trust.

Keep safe. God bless you. – YO

Posted On Saturday, 17 October 2020 01:01 Written by

Gbenga Omokhunu, Osagie Otabor, Frank Ikpefan, Yinka Adeniran, Ernest Nwokolo, Chris Oji, Toba Adedeji, Sanni Onogu, Eric Ikhilae, AbdulGafar Alabelewe/ The Nation

MAJOR cities in the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, witnessed more protests against police brutality on Wednesday. The protests are continuing even when operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) are handing over in the states to return to the Force Headquarters in Abuja.

In Lagos, protesters defied rain. They laid siege on the Lekki toll gate on the Lekki-Epe Expressway. The protesters grounded vehicular traffic. They chanted “End SARS, END SWAT”, “End Police Brutality”.

Several residents who had to access the toll gate to get to work returned home because of the massive traffic.

The protests also continued in Alausa, Iyana-Ipaja, Ikorodu, Surulere, Lagos Mainland and Apapa. A fire Engine belonging to the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service was attacked and damaged by some of the protesters at Alausa. The acting head of the agency, Mrs Margaret Adeseye, confirmed this in a statement.

According to the protesters at the Lekki-Epe Expressway toll gate, the SWAT is a SARS in another garb.

“The IGP does not seem to understand our grievances. We are not talking about name changing, rather a thorough reformation,” a protester said.

Another protester urged the government to ensure proper remuneration of the policemen.

The protesters’ camps continued to bubble with live Disc Jockeys (DJs), dishing out music to the admiration of the protesters. There were enough food and drinks to keep up the momentum.

Some of the protesters are planning to show England Premiership League matches live at the Lekki-Epe Expressway toll gate. Some were even suggesting on the social media that churches should hold their Sunday services at the protest grounds.

In Iyana-Ipaja and Ikorodu, it was a dancing galore. While the protesters at Iyana-Ipaja danced to the Idris AbdulKareem’s popular ‘Nigeria jagajaga’ lyrics, those in Ikorodu staged dancing competition.

Commissioner of Police Commissioner (CP) Hakeem Odumosu on Wednesday debriefed operatives of the scrapped SARS, Anti-Kidnapping Squad (AKS), Anti-Cultism Squad (ACS) and Raider.

Already all pending investigations and suspects in their custody have been handed over to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, while their weapons were returned to the state’s armoury.

According to a statement by spokesman, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the CP warned them to desist from parading themselves as SARS operatives or any operatives under whatever nomenclature in the state.

Protesters in Anambra State claimed twelve people were killed by policemen. The protesters stormed Awka, the state capital demanding the prosecution of members of the disbanded SARS. They drove and marched through some streets in Awka, the state-owned Anambra Broadcasting Service ABS and the State House of Assembly.

The protesters carried placards with different inscriptions, including, “those who killed innocent people must be prosecuted, we will not rest until justice is done”.

The protesters listed some of the communities that mostly lost their sons in the hands of SARS as Onitsha, Oraifite, Awka, Ozubulu, Ihiala, Nando and Aguleri.

At the SARS office in Awkuzu, Oyi local government area, operations were in full swing. Members of SARs were seen in their usual mufti attires with AK -47 riffles, parading the premises.

The Nation gathered that the suspects being held at the SARs office were still there.

Police Public Relations Officer Mohammed Haruna said the Awkuzu SARS office remained the property of the police.

Warri, Delta State, was grounded on Wednesday. Hundreds of protesters took to major roads of Warri and Effurun.

The youths kicked off the peaceful march at about 8 am from the popular Delta Mall in Effurun Roundabout, walked through the Effurun-Warri Sapele Road, stopping at Airport, Jakpa, Enerhen and Deco Junctions, as well as marching on to Estate Roundabout, all in Warri South and Uvwie council areas. The procession caused heavy traffic across the twin cities. Some motorists, business people and pedestrians gave a nod to the movement, cheering them on.

The protesters bore placards with inscriptions such as “End Police Brutality,” Stop Killing Us,” End SWAT, End SARS,” We said EndSARS, not change them,” I am a filmmaker, I am not a fraudster. Stop harassing me,” among others.

Security operatives were also spotted monitoring the exercise.

Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, also felt the weight of the protests. Youths stormed the Lugard House seat of government.

The youths who turned out in their hundreds demanded to see the governor. Efforts by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Jamiu Asuku, to plead with them that the governor was at the weekly State Executive Council meeting fell on deaf ears.

According to Bernard Ajewole, spokesperson of the protesting youths, “What we want is beyond disbandment and replacing it with another. Just yesterday, they came to our campus (Prince Abubakar Audu University) Ayingba in their uniforms, where they arrested some students and made them to part with N100,000 before they were released.

“This is happening despite the Inspector General’s directives that members of the disbanded SARS should report in Abuja for debriefing.

•ANAMBRA: Protesters in Anamba. PHOTO: NWANOSIKE ONU

“The youth are gathered here today to give solidarity to fellow youths protesting police brutality across the country.

“We want Nigerian police that is refined enough to tackle various acts of criminality without extrajudicial killings,” he said.

In Akwa Ibom State, protesters stormed the Akwa Ibom State Government House, Uyo. Governor Udom Emmanuel thanked them for being peaceful.

“Let me thank all of you for the peaceful manner in which this has been conducted. I want to thank all the youths and all the leaders and also express our concern on what this fight has been all about.

”Let me also appreciate the President of Nigeria who had acted promptly to have announced the disbandment of SARS completely. If the President that we know has given that commitment, I trust that he will keep to it. At the state here, I want to assure you that there will never be anything like police brutality,” he said.

The governor said the state government was engaging the police command in the state to ensure a harmonious relationship among the institutions of government and communities.

The leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) threw its weight behind the protests. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB commended the youths for putting aside their ethnic and religious differences to protest the excesses of SARS operatives and police officers in general.

“IPOB gives kudos to all those involved in the on-going #ENDSARS protest all over the British created contraption. We are happy that at last the youths of this generation have come to terms with the brutal reality of life in Nigeria which we saw many years back,” the group said.

Oyo Assembly honours Jimoh Isiaka, two others

In Oyo State, members of the Oyo State House of Assembly yesterday observed a minute silence for Jimoh Isiaka and two other dead victims of the #EndSARS protest that rocked the ancient city of Ogbomosho on Sunday.

The honour for the victims of the protest followed a request made to the House by the lawmaker representing Ogbomosho North state constituency, Mrs Olawumi Oladeji when she raised a matter of urgent public importance on the “Urgent Need to Investigate Killing of Jimoh Isiaka During the ‘End SARS’ Protest in Ogbomosho and Invasion of Soun’s Palace by yet-to-be-identified hoodlums”.

The Assembly called on Governor Seyi Makinde to order an investigation into the killing of Jimoh Isiaka as well as the invasion of the Soun of Ogbomoso’s palace.

RCCG: SWAT should not be old wine in a new bottle

The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) said the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) should not be a glass of old wine in a new bottle.

Assistant General Overseer, (Administration and Personnel), Pastor Johnson Odesola, said: “The Church welcomes the disbandment of the SARS, and notes the establishment of a new outfit called the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) but warned that it should not become a case of old wine in a new bottle.

“The Church reiterated its call on Government to take urgent steps to tackle the rising rate of unemployment, decay in the nation’s educational system and the general harsh economic situation in the country.”

He appealed to the protesters to comport themselves orderly and eschew violence and destruction.

North’s coalition set to begin expanded protest today

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) yesterday directed all its chapters across the 19 northern states to begin an expanded #ENDSARS protests across the region today.

A statement by the coalition’s spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said: “CNG has followed developments around the bold and necessary steps taken by Nigerian citizens in some parts of the country including some northern states to call attention to the deteriorating national security and other pressing concerns around the dwindling economy, prohibitive commodity prices, rising inflation amidst mounting poverty and prolonged stay at home by university students.”

We need state police now, says Ekweremadu

Former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to decentralise the police.

Ekweremadu regretted that the Bill to amend the constitution to create state police, which he sponsored in the 8th Senate as well as the current Senate, had not received the required political support.

Ekweremadu, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Uche Anichukwu, said the Federal Government was still addressing the symptoms rather than the real illness.

Ganduje to Buhari, IG: flush out bad elements

Kaduna State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu to flush out the bad elements in the police.

Ganduje joined hundreds of youths who gathered at the Government House gate to support the ongoing police reforms.

“We are calling on the president and the police IG to fish out those bad elements within the police force. This will pave the way for an intelligent and reformed security institution.

“We appeal to the IGP that the reformation, through SWAT, should be consolidated to protect the Nigerian people.”

Posted On Thursday, 15 October 2020 16:53 Written by

BY TERKULA IGIDI & ABUBAKAR SADIQ ISAH/ DAILY TRUST

Hoodlums attacked the #EndSARS protesters who have formed a blockade at the Berger intersection, Abuja mid Wednesday.

The hoodlums brandishing cutlasses and cudgels, invaded the Berger four-way-intersection, where the protesters have camped since last weekend, protesting police brutality.

A witness, Anthony Ikyoive, said the thugs attacked and injured unspecified number of people, vandalising at least five cars parked in the area.

Daily Trust learnt the protesters regrouped and chased away the hoodlums.

The protests which have continued despite the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, have continued to cause gridlock in the city.

A Daily Trust reporter who was caught in a similar protest along Airport Road, observed that hoodlums attacked the #EndSARS protesters with sticks and weapons.

Some motorists upon sighting the ensuing fracas immediately made a u -turn and headed towards the Life Camp Junction, while some other motorists manoeuvred their way through a bush path close to the Coca-Cola depot to continue with their journey.

A police traffic warden at one of the junctions along the bye-pass narrowly escaped being manhandled by the protesters.

The FCT Police Commissioner, Bala Ciroma, confirmed the incident, saying five vehicles were vandalised during the clash which he said ensued between supporters of SARS and the #EndSARS protesters.

He said the command was not aware of any casualty recorded during the clash, even as he said the command was still investigating the incident.

“And we have been able to deploy quite a number of personnel across the FCT, which I cannot disclosed our strategy to you people but we are investigating the incident,” he said.

Posted On Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:27 Written by

A stakeholders meeting called by the Inspector General of Police and National Human Rights Commission and attended by representatives of the #EndSARS movement, has agreed to meet the five-point demand of the protesters.

The meeting agreed halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.

The meeting was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry and the ENDSARS movement and development partners.

The Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission were also present at the meeting that affirmed that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.

Communiqué

A communiqué of Stakeholders’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) said:

“Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the consequent disbandment of the unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholder engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.

“The agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

“The Forum was addressed by the Inspector General of Police and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission.

“The Forum collectively: welcomed the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of the Police in protecting this right; Affirms that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.’’

According to the communiqué signed by the Inspector General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, Esq, the Forum noted that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.

“The Forum further notes that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was jointly authored by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.

“The Forum affirms that reform proposals for the Nigerian Police Force will be based on Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislations such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, and the National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 amongst others.

READ ALSO #ENDSARS: Omo-Agege condemns killing of police officer

“Following the dissolution of SARS, the Forum calls for the following immediate steps to be taken in restoring public confidence and trust in the Police: An order by the Inspector General of Police to all State Commands to halt the use of force against protesters; Unconditional release of arrested protesters and citizens; Open communication and outreach to citizens to establish trust and confidence and a roadmap for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the SARS.

“The Forum welcomed the proposal to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into the violations of human rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigerian Police. The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.

“The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment. The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships.’’

The communiqué stated that sub-Committees will be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.

Those who attended the meeting are: Dr Kole Shettima- MAC Arthur Foundation; Innocent Chukwuma – Ford Foundation; Jude Ilo- of OSIWA; Segun Awosanya(segalinks) – End Sars Movement; Yemi Adamolekun- Enough is Enough; Clément Nwankwo- PLAC; Rafsanjani- CISLAC; Kemi Okonyedo- PWAN; YZ – CITAD; Folarin Falana Falz; Prof Deji Adekunle –NIALS; Chris Ngwodo, SSA to President Research & Policy; Dr Fatima Waziri – Rule of Law Adviser OVP and Abdulrahman Yakubu – NHRC Secretariat.

Others are: Hilary Ogbonna- NHRC secretariat; Halilu Adamu – NHRC Secretariat; Ben Aguh – NHRC secretariat; Dr Uju Agomuoh – PRAWA and Onyinye Ndubuisi – UNDP.

COURTESY: PM NEWS

Posted On Tuesday, 13 October 2020 16:06 Written by

BY LAMI SADIQ, KADUNA/ DAILYTRUST.COM

One of the top contenders for the stool of Zazzau emirate, Bashar Aminu, has asked a Kaduna state High Court to remove the newly appointed emir of Zazzau, Ahmed Nuhu Bamali as the 19th emir and declare him as the rightful emir of Zazzau.

In a suit filed in a Kaduna High Court, Aminu, who is also the Iyan Zazzau, said the appointment of Bamalli as emir by the Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai was “unilateral, unlawful.”

It was “irregular, illegal unconstitutional, unjust to inequitable and contrary to good conscience, null and void and of no effect whatsoever,” he claimed in the suit.

The suit has El-Rufai, the Attorney-General of Kaduna state, Kaduna state Council of Chiefs, Zazzau emirate council, the Wazirin Zazzau, Fagachin Zazzau, the Makama Karamin Zazzau, Limamin Juma’an Zazzau, Limamin Konan Zazzau, and the newly appointed emir of Zazzau listed as defendants.

Aminu also wants the court to declare him the duly selected emir of Zazzau based on the selection by the kingmakers which took place on the 24th of September 2020.

“The plaintiff having been selected/elected as the emir of Zazzau by the traditional kingmakers at the selection on 24th September, 2020 is entitled under section 3 of the Chiefs (Appointment and Deposition) law Kaduna state 1991 to be appointed by Governor of Kaduna state as the emir of Zazzau,” the suit reads

“Having scored the highest number of lawful votes cast by the kingmakers and thus selected by the said kingmakers, the plaintiff has thus acquired, vested right to the stool of the emir of Zazzau from the date of his selection henceforth.”

The Iyan Zazzau is also seeking a declaration that the plaintiff is still the emir of Zazzau and is entitled to all rights and privileges pertaining thereto and therefore seeking an order setting aside the “purported appointment of the 10th Defendant (Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli) as the emir of Zazzau.”

It is also seeking an injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th defendants from acting in the installation of the 10th defendant to the throne of the emir of Zazzau and or presenting the 10th defendant with the staff of office until the final determination of the suit.

Daily Trust reports that Iyan Zazzau was among the top three who made the fist list in the selection process by the kingmakers on September 24.

Iyan Zazzau, Alhaji Bashar Aminu from the Katsinawa dynasty had scored the highest.

He was followed by the Yariman Zazzau, Alhaji Muhammed Munnir Jafaru from Bare-bari dynasty and Turakin Zazzau, Alhaji Aminu Shehu Idris also from the Katsinawa dynasty.

Kaduna state government through the Attorney-General Aisha Dikko tells Daily Trust she is not aware of the case and was yet to receive court documents.

But aides to the Iyan Zazzau confirm the prince has filed a suit at Kaduna State High Court.

Posted On Monday, 12 October 2020 16:39 Written by

The Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu has dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police across all formations in the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory.

The IGP, who announced the dissolution of the unit at a press briefing on Sunday in Abuja, noted that all officers and men currently serving in the Unit are to be redeployed with immediate effect.

He said, “New policing arrangements to address the offences of armed robbery, and other violent crimes that fall within the mandate of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad shall be presented in due course.

According to him, “A Citizens and Strategic Stakeholders’ Forum will be formed to regularly interface with the leadership of the police at all levels and advice on police activities.

“To deal with the reports of crimes committed against citizens, an investigation team will be constituted which will include civil society organisations for transparency, and culprits will be punished.

“I commend the vast majority of men and women of the Nigeria Police who are diligently going about their_ duties, guided by the dictates of the rule of law, honour and professionalism. I encourage them to sustain their sense of national service, sacrifice, patriotism and commitment to crime-fighting. Their gallant efforts to ensure the safety of the lives and property of all Nigerians are very much appreciated.”

Posted On Sunday, 11 October 2020 16:55 Written by

By Sanni Onogu, Abuja/ THE NATION

  • 2021 Tax Expenditure statement to be published
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Nigeria’s economy which has been projected to go into recession this quarter will return to recovery next year, the President said on Thursday.

President Muhammadu Buhari raised the hope when he presented the 2021 budget estimates for Federal lawmakers consideration.

He tagged the N13.08 trillion estimates as Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience.

Buhari said: “The Nigerian economy is currently facing serious challenges, with the macroeconomic environment being significantly disrupted by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“Real Gross Domestic Product (‘GDP’) growth declined by 6.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

“This ended the three-year trend of positive, but modest, real GDP growth recorded since the second quarter of 2017.

“I am glad to note that through our collective efforts, our economy performed relatively better than that of many other developed and emerging economies.”

According to the President, the economy may slip because the “GDP growth is projected to be negative in the third quarter of this year. As such, our economy may relapse into the second recession in four years, with significant adverse consequences”.

He added: “We are working assiduously to ensure a rapid recovery in 2021. We remain committed to implementing programmes to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years.”

The President said liquidity of the economy will be boosted with the withdrawal of subsidy and the reforms of the electricity sector.

He said: “The new petrol pricing regime has freed up resources that was allocated to subsidise petroleum products. Similarly, the ongoing IPPIS verification exercise has closed gaps that encourage ghost workers or pensioners. The service reflective electricity tariffs will help resolve liquidity crisis in the power sector and make the sector attractive to foreign investment.”

He noted that since skills’ deficits limit employment opportunities in the formal economy, various skills’ development programmes are being implemented simultaneously to address the problem frontally.

“For instance, the Government is implementing the Special Public Works programme to provide employment opportunities to 774,000 youths across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria.

“We have also recently introduced the N25 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund.

“We thank all Nigerians, for your perseverance and continued support during these difficult times. We remain unwavering in our commitment to actualise our vision of a bright future for everyone.”

2020 performance

On the performance of the 2020 budget, Buhari urged the lawmakers to recall that the 2020 ‘Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation’ was amended in response to recent fiscal pressures.

He added: “I am glad to report that these efforts enabled us to effectively respond to the public health challenge of Coronavirus outbreak and moderate economic impact.

“Pursuant to our revised assumptions, the amended 2020 Budget was based on a benchmark oil price of $28 per barrel; oil production of 1.80 million barrels per day; and exchange rate of N360/$.

“Based on these budget parameters, aggregate revenue of N5.84 trillion was projected to fund N10.81 trillion in expenditure.

“The projected deficit of N4.98 trillion, or 3.57 per cent of GDP, is expected to be financed mainly by borrowing.

“In 2020, average daily oil production was 1.88 mbpd up to June, as against the revised estimate of 1.80 mbpd for the entire year.

“However, the market price of Bonny Light crude averaged $40.79 per barrel, significantly higher than the revised benchmark price of $28.

“As at July 2020, the Federal Government’s actual revenue available for the budget was N2.10 trillion.

“This revenue performance was only 68 per cent of our pro-rated target in the revised 2020 budget.

“At N992.45 billion, oil revenue performed well above our budget target, by 168 per cent.

“Non-oil tax revenues totalled N692.83 billion, which was 73 percent of the revised target.”

He said that in order to improve independent revenue performance, he had directed that the cost profiles of Government Owned Enterprises (‘GOEs’) should be scrutinized and limits imposed on their cost-to-revenue ratios.

He said he has also ordered Supervising Ministers to ensure closer monitoring of the revenue generating activities and expenditures of the Government Owned Enterprises.

On the expenditure side, Buhari said a total of N5.37 trillion had been spent as against the pro-rated expenditure of N5.82 trillion as at end of July 2020.

Accordingly, he said that the deficit was N3.27 trillion which represents 66 per cent of the revised budgeted deficit for the full year.

He added: “Despite these challenges, we met our debt service obligations.

“We are also up to date on the payment of statutory transfers and staff salaries, while overhead costs have been significantly covered.

“For the first time in recent years, we commenced the implementation of this year’s capital budget in the first quarter.

“As at 15th September 2020 a total of about N1.2 trillion had been released for capital projects.

“Every Federal MDA has received at least 50 per cent of its 2020 capital expenditure budget, in line with my earlier directives.”

He lamented that revenue generation remained a major challenge to the nation’s economy.

“Nevertheless,” the President said, “Government is determined to tackle the persisting problems with domestic resource mobilization, as there is a limit to deficit financing through borrowing.”

He added: “The time has come for us to maintain a healthy balance between meeting our growing expenditure commitments and our long-term public financial health.”

2020 achievements

President Buhari also spoke about the key achievements of his administration in the 2020 fiscal year.

He said that his administration implemented several priority projects over the course of the year.

Buhari added: “Government has delivered on key policies, programmes and projects in these priority areas.

“In agriculture, we have recorded appreciable success in rice and other crops mainly through the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, anchored by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, respectively.

“We are also accelerating the construction of 337 rural roads around key agricultural corridors to enhance access to market and reduce post-harvest losses.

“These efforts have reduced the adverse impact of Coronavirus on our food availability, prices and security.

“We have made progress on the railway projects connecting different parts of the country.

“The Lagos-Ibadan Line will soon be operational. The Abuja-Kaduna Line is running efficiently.

“The Itakpe-Ajaokuta Line was finally completed after over 30 years since it was initiated and commissioned in September 2020.

“Arrangements are underway to complete the Ibadan-Kano Line.

“Also, work will soon commence on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Line and Calabar-Lagos Coastal Line, which will connect the Southern and Eastern States to the North, and the South-South as well as South-East to the North, and South-West, respectively.

“The Second Niger Bridge is at about 46 per cent completion. We hope to commission the project before the end of our tenure in 2023.

“We have awarded several contracts to rehabilitate, reconstruct and construct major arterial roads, in order to reduce the hardship to commuters and increase economic activity.

“To bridge the infrastructure deficit, we are also implementing innovative financing strategies to pull-in private sector investment.

“The Infrastructure Company, which I recently approved, will become a world-class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on making critical infrastructural investments in Nigeria.

“This Infrastructure Company will raise funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the Africa Finance Corporation, pension funds as well as local and foreign private sector development financiers.

“Under the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, we are undertaking the construction and rehabilitation of over 780km of roads and bridges, nationwide, to be financed by the grant of tax credits to investing business.

“Ongoing projects under this scheme include: Construction and Rehabilitation of Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba-Ilorin Road Section II (Obajana-Kabba) in Kogi and Kwara States;

“Construction of Apapa-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway in Lagos State; and construction of Bodo-Bonny road with a Bridge across the Opobo Channel in Rivers State.

“To enhance good governance, we strengthened our anti-corruption agencies to ensure they work independently and jointly, while respecting the rule of law.

“We have also worked to address emergent cases of insecurity and insurgency, nationwide, with innovative approaches.

“Our security operations in the Niger Delta, North Central and North West are yielding desired results.

“We are determined to get rid of bandits, kidnappers and criminal behaviour from our midst.”

Posted On Friday, 09 October 2020 20:10 Written by

By Kazeem Ugbodaga / PM NEWS

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday presented a budget of N13 trillion to the joint arm of the National Assembly for approval for the 2021 fiscal year.

In the budget tagged: “Budget of economic recovery and resilience,” Buhari said the main thrust of the 2021 budget was to complete as many ongoing projects as possible, while giving priority to the ones that most affected the people. He said the 2021 budget would drive the MDAs to generate revenue, no matter how little, while urging the Legislature to pay attention to the revenue as much as they did to the expenditure.

According to him, the 2021 budget was the roadmap for post-coronavirus economy and was aimed at accelerating the economic recovery process.

Buhari said Crude oil is projected at $40bpd, exchange rate at N379 to $1, GDP at three percent and inflation rate at 11.95 per cent.

He said he had directed the Minister of Finance to finalise the Finance Bill and transmit for consideration and passage.

In the budget, the National Assembly got N128 billion, while N380.21b has been allocated to the health ministry.

Buhari said Multiple Rural Electrification Projects, Mambilla Hydro Power Project, Zungeru Hydro Power Project, among others, were key power projects under the 2021 Budget.

He stated that N420 billion had been earmarked for the Social Investment Programmes, while N20 billion had been earmarked for the Social Housing Programmes.

Posted On Friday, 09 October 2020 00:10 Written by

By Nicholas Kalu, Abuja/ THE NATION

The much-criticised Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) cannot be scrapped because it is needed to combat armed robberies and other violence crimes, the Nigerian Police Force has stated.

Several Nigerians, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, have condemned the excesses and brutalities of the unit on social media.

Many had called for its scrapping, saying it has caused more harm than good with #ENDSARS and #WarAgainstSARS trending for days.

But Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, Nigeria Police, Abuja, Frank Mba, in a live Instagram chat with popular musician, Azeez Fashola popularly known as Naira Marley however assured more will be done to police the policemen to prevent violations of human rights.

Marley, who was supposed to be part of a protest to call for scrapping of the unit in Lagos on Tuesday, called off the action.

He said the cancelled protest was to get relevant authorities to listen to Nigerians and do something about SARS.

Mba said the police under the leadership of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, have been proactive and would not wait for a protest before taking the proper actions.

Mba said the fundamental job of the police is to protect lives and property and they must respect the choice of people to appear how they like.

“There is no law that says dreadlocks, tattoos and other personal choices of appearance are offenses. It is nonsense,” Mba said.

He assured there will be proper policing of policemen going forward, stressing they must operate within the dictates of the law and established code of conduct.

Mba said if a policeman is doing anything wrong, citizens should take pictures and videos of the situation and send it to them for appropriate action.

He however urged that such photos or videos be taken in a manner that does not compromise the taker’s safety.

He said it was not a crime to record a policeman but certain infrastructure and situations should not be recorded for security purposes.

“But if a policeman is doing something wrong, you can take pictures and record videos and send them to us. But make sure you do so safely.

“If you feel in your interactions with the police that they are beginning to cross the line, you can take pictures and videos as long as it is safe for you to do so. When you send them to us, we will definitely follow up the matter and see it to a logical conclusion,” he said.

He also advised against going into arguments with armed security agents.

Mba called on government agencies, well- meaning Nigerians, as well as companies among others to support the Nigerian Police.

He described the ongoing conversation on the activities of SARS as work in progress.

Naira Marley, who said he was not threatened by anyone to cancel the planned protests, called for reform of the police unit.

The musician said: “We want this nonsense to end and we would do all we can to end it. We need to reform SARS.

“We need to get them of the roads. All we really want is for SARS to be like SWAT in the United States. You only see them when the occasion demands it.

“They should be off the roads. In Nigeria we see SARS everywhere. They should only come out when there is a robbery or other violent crime that need their attention.”

The live Instagram chat attracted over 30, 000 participants, including well- known Nigerians.

Posted On Tuesday, 06 October 2020 18:00 Written by
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