President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan has declared that he will not preside over a red chamber that is rubber stamp to any arm of the government.
Lawan stated this yesterday after paying a ‘thank-you’ visit to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
There were insinuations that the emergence of Lawan as Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the House of Representatives, both anointed candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), would turn the parliament into a rubber stamp.
But, President Muhammadu Buhari had declared that he doesn’t desire a rubber stamp legislature, but collaboration among all arms of government. “The Executive does not desire a rubber stamp Legislature. While separation of powers is essential, collaboration among all arms of government should be the name of the game. Opposition needs not be virulent,” he had said.
Speaking with State House Correspondents, Lawan stated that he was just the first among fellow senators and could not take legislative decisions like a school principal.
The President of the Senate noted that he would ensure smooth relations with the Executive.
He said: “A parliament is not a primary school or a secondary school where the headmaster or principal will dictate to his students. Parliament is an aggregate or an assemblage of people that have equal status.
“Being elected as Senate President does not mean that I’m the boss of the other senators. I’m simply to coordinate and aggregate views and lead debates. Whoever is in the majority, that will be the decision of the Senate, appropriately and accordingly.
“So, there will be nothing like rubber stamp. So far, I have never seen a National Assembly that had a rubber stamp leadership and I have been around for 20 years to note that.
“One thing I must tell you is that while we desire to remain sufficiently on our track, we will ensure that oversight function is properly carried out; but we will cooperate fully and give total support to the administration to ensure that there is good governance.
“There is no need for any fear that we will be a rubber stamp National Assembly. Perhaps and probably with time, Nigeria will come to see that what we desire and what will happen by the grace of God will be a working relationship that endears the entire administration and government to the people of Nigeria. So, there is no cause for alarm.”
Expressing his gratitude to Osinbajo for the role he played in the emergence of current National Assembly leaders, Lawan said this was now an opportunity to discuss the type of Senate that should be expected in the Ninth National Assembly.
“As the new National Assembly, we have received a bi-partisan mandate from across the parties. The PDP, the YPP voted for us and we believe that this is the time and opportunity for us to consolidate the kind of support that we received across the political parties that we received in the National Assembly.
“We believe that we must remain united in the National Assembly; we must remain focused for us to be able to deliver those legislative interventions that would be necessary for good governance in the country.
“We also believe that we must have a relationship with the executive arm of government that is based on cooperation and collaboration. It is our desire in the Ninth National Assembly to work seamlessly with the executive arm of government because we believe that Nigerians did not make a mistake for voting for the executive as presently constituted and the legislature as it is today.
“So, we are in it together with the executive arm of government to work in such a fashion to be able to deliver those democracy dividends that Nigerians need today. It is our desire also to ensure that whoever is appointed by the executive arm of government performs his or her functions optimally.
“We will ensure that we provide those enablers that will make them perform, but we also expect them to work hard to ensure that Mr. President and this administration leave the kind of legacies that we all desire,” he stated.
SEMA embarks on fumigation of IDPs’ camps in Benue
he Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in collaboration with Victuwa Environmental Managers Limited, yesterday commenced fumigation of the eight internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps across the state.
Speaking during the flag off ceremony at the Abagena IDP camp in Makurdi Local Government Area, the SEMA executive secretary said the exercise was aimed at ensuring the safety of the IDPs against reptiles, harmful insects and other predators.
Shior, represented by a former aide to Governor Ortom, Mr. Godwin Gwaza Gwabo, also maintained that the state government was willing to take care of the problems of the IDPs, who were in camps due to displacement by the Fulani herdsmen.
He said SEMA would continue to cater for internally displaced persons in all areas, adding that the exercise would be carried out in unofficial camps as well.
Chief Executive Officer of Viktuwa Managers Limited, Victor Asobo, assured the Benue State Emergency Management Agency of the excellent services of his company.
Earlier in his remarks, the Camp Manager, Mr. James Iorkyaa, expressed the appreciation of the camp to the agency for the gesture.
He appealed to the state government to take environmental issues seriously, considering the enormity of environmental crisis ravaging our society.
Tribunal: Kwara Gov’s certificate genuine, says classmate
A classmate of Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, at Government College, Kaduna, Mohammed Kabiru Yaro, yesterday told the state governorship election petitions tribunal sitting in Ilorin that the governor had genuine and authentic West African Examinations Council (WAEC) certificate.
Yaro, an architect, said the governor was his bosom friend while in school, as both of them and other members of the class sat for WAEC in June 1976 at the college in Kaduna, Kaduna state.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate in the March 9, 2019 election, Razak Atunwa, were alleging that the governor presented a fake WAEC certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest the election.
During cross-examination by the All Progressives Congress (APC) counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi, Yaro presented his original WAEC certificate in court for perusal, adding that “I have my own certificate obtained from that WAEC examination.”
He also revealed that during their time, WAEC would write their surnames in full and initialise other names, adding that “AbdulRahman, as we used to refer to him, was directly seated in my front and his serial number in WAEC was 199, while mine was 122.
“Based on what I know about the certificate of AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, he was very much qualified to contest for the March 9, 2019 election.”
Olujimi prayed the court to tender the certificate of the witness as evidence, which the tribunal acceded to.
He said: “I humbly tender the certificate of the witness as evidence,” which petitioners’ counsel Kinsley Odey, did not object to.
However, Odey asked for the re-cross-examination of the witness on his 1976 WAEC certificate adopted as evidence in the spirit of fair-hearing. He said that: “During the pre-trial session, parties were asked to present documents for identification, but AbudlRazaq (2nd respondent did not present his WAEC certificate for identification.) The presentation of such document today is a surprise to the petitioners.
“Our application is that the petitioners should be given the opportunity to examine the witness on the document in the interest of fair-hearing.”
Responding, Olujimi urged the tribunal to dismiss the petitioners’ counsel’s application to re-cross examine the certificate as un-meritorious.
He said: “In my limited number of years in practice, I have always known of three categories of examination, that is examination-in-chief, cross-examination and re-examination; once a tribunal or court has offered parties the opportunity as may be relevant or applied to each party, there is no fourth category of examination that is called re-cross-examination which is what the petitioners’ counsel is praying, your lordships for.”
Hearing on the petition continues today.
Ministerial list: Enugu APC rejects Onyeama’s reappointment
he Enugu state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday expressed disapproval over reappointment of former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama.
The party described the appointment as a “terrible mistake.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had yesterday sent a list of 43 ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation with Onyeama taking the slot of Enugu state.
But while rejecting his nomination, Enugu state APC chapter stated that going by Onyeama’s abysmal performance during the president’s first tenure in office, such “character ought not to have any business in the next level second term agenda of the APC-led federal executive council.”
Enugu state APC chairman, Dr. Ben Nwoye, said the development was not for the interest of Enugu and Nigeria in general, saying the ex- foreign Affairs Minister did more harm than good to APC in Enugu state during his first outing as a minister, stressing that he never believed in party supremacy.
According to Nwoye, “rather than joining hands with the leadership of APC in the state to ensure the progress of the party, Onyeama was busy wasting tax payers money in sponsoring crisis and sowing seed of discord.”
The chairman insisted that reappointing the former minister into the federal executive council would further destroy the party in Enugu because “this is a man who have penchant for pulling down party structure.”
According to him, “Aside Enugu state, Nigerians in Diaspora, never felt the impact of Oyeama’s office for the four years he occupied the Foreign Affairs Ministry seat.”
Nwoye also called on the upper chamber of the nation’s National Assembly (Senate), to carry out a proper investigation on the allegations against the former Minister which escaped 8th senate during his previous screening.
INEC fails to present witnesses before Sokoto tribunal
he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday failed to produce none of the 12 witnesses it promised to present penultimate week before the 2019 Sokoto State governorship elections petitions tribunal sitting in Sokoto.
At the tribunal’s sitting yesterday, 1st respondent, INEC, was supposed to present its witnesses, but for the volte face.
Lead counsel for the 1st respondent, Alhassan Umar, unceremoniously told the tribunal that it would not be presenting any witness.
He said: “We have reviewed the petition and the witnesses called by the petitioners. We will rely on the evidences we have extracted from the cross examination of the witnesses of the petitioners.
“We are within the law and the law allows that; so, we will not be calling any witness.”
In his reaction, lead counsel for the petitioners, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN) said: “They claimed to have twelve witnesses, but they have failed to produce them, we are ever ready.”
The lead counsel for the 2nd Respondent, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), said: “We are actually taken by surprise for the 1st Respondent to say it was not calling any witness today.
“This is mainly because we did not factor that into our planning. This is also bearing in mind that they were given ten days within which to defend themselves.
“In the circumstance, in order to afford us the opportunity to gather our witnesses and make relevant applications for necessary subpoenas, we will like to commence our defence on the 1st day of August, 2019.”
Lead counsel to the 3rd Respondent, Aare Akinmuyiwa Akinboro, aligned himself with the submission of the 2nd Respondent.
He added; “We are here today hoping that we will spend the next two to three days getting through the witnesses of the 1st Respondent.
“The position of the 1st Respondent has totally altered whatever arrangements we have made. There is now a change of the game plan. The submission of the 1st Respondent is amenable.”
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Abdullahi Bawale, vehemently refused the application for an adjournment to 1st August, 2019, by the lead counsel of the 2nd Respondent, Emmanuel Ukala.
Justice Bawale said: “When we adjourned to today, it is not only for the 1st Respondent to commence its defence, but for the 2nd and 3rd Respondents also.
“So, we are adjourning to Saturday, July 27, 2019. We have to do more to dispense with this case, hopefully in the next two months.”
Justice Abdullahi also warned that the court would not further grant any unnecessary adjournments, saying; “we have conceded too much, so far.”
The chairman later adjourned the case to Tuesday, July 30, 2019, for continuous defence by both the 2nd and 3rd Respondents.
Reacting, Izinyon said: “I will heed to the 30th August, 2019, but there should not be any stop. The 3rd Respondent should take over the baton immediately the 2nd Respondent finishes.”
In the case, APC gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto and the party, had dragged the candidate of the PDP, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, the PDP and INEC to the tribunal, challenging the declaration of Governor Tambuwal as the winner of the 2019 general and supplementary elections, by the commission.
We’ll invest in technology, create jobs – Buhari
resident Muhammadu Buhari has promised that his government in the next four years will channel more investments in Nigeria’s technological sector, and open up space for creativity and innovation with digital skills.
The President said investing more in the sector would play a significant role in providing jobs for youths and growing the economy.
President Buhari stated this while receiving Letters of Credence from the Ambassador of Portugal to Nigeria, Luis Filipe Ribeiro Da Silva Barros, at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said the wave of technological growth across the globe had provided more opportunities for development for countries, especially for the economies willing to retool and build capacities in areas of need.
“Technology has come to stay and, as a country, we are exploring opportunities for advancement, especially in providing jobs for our teeming youths,’’ he said.
The President said:“Many hands in the country are willing and waiting to be meaningfully engaged’’, urging the ambassador to focus on building stronger economic ties with Nigeria that would be mutually rewarding.
In his remarks, the Portuguese ambassador said he had already discovered start-up companies in many parts of the country, assuring Nigerians of partnerships that would enhance the capacity of the small businesses, especially in areas of agriculture, academics, vocational skills and security.
The Ambassador congratulated the President for winning a second term in office, promising to push bilateral relations with Nigeria to “new levels’’.
Receiving Letters of Credence of the High Commissioner of Jamaica to Nigeria, Esmond St Clair Reid, President Buhari said that he was pleased with the growing community of Nigerians in the country, and the harmonious ways they have been conducting themselves, and exploring opportunities in businesses.
The president assured the High Commissioner of Nigeria’s support in improving bilateral relations.
The Jamaican High Commissioner to Nigeria told the President that the growing Nigerian community in Jamaica had been very active in academics, like the Maritime University, adding “we look forward to broad cooperation because there’s a lot we can do together in areas of tourism, craft and skills transfer under your leadership.’’
President Buhari, who also received Letters of Credence from the Ambassador of Indonesia, Dr Usra Hendra Harahap, said trade relations between both countries should be improved, appreciating the country for always standing by Nigeria in international affairs like the recent election of Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, as President of 74th General Assembly.
In his remark, the Ambassador of Indonesia said his country would be willing to have stronger relations with Nigeria on security, trade and crude oil importation.
“Nigeria’s oil is top quality, with less sulphur content. So, we are deeply in need of supply,’’ he said.
Meanwhile President Buhari yesterday also said that the priority of his administration “is to create as many jobs as possible.”
Speaking at an audience with the National Executive Council of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers, led by its President, Comrade John Adaji, at the State House, President Buhari said in the last four years, the Federal Government deployed limited resources to job-creating sectors like agriculture and mining.
Lamenting the closure of textile factories especially in the North, which gave rise to crimes, he said: “We promoted policies that will support local industries such as import restrictions. We introduced programmes that provided affordable and accessible capital to both large and cottage industries.”
He added that, “we also introduced Executive Orders that encouraged the procurement of Made in Nigeria goods and services.”
According to the President, his administration would continue to support the above policies and programmes in the years ahead, stressing: “We will not allow Nigeria to return to the days of exporting jobs through the importation of food and clothing items which can be produced locally. We owe this to the over 200 million Nigerians.”
The President noted that the textile and garment sector has the potential to create millions of jobs and will therefore, remain one of the priority sectors for the administration.
Referring to his recent directive to all Government uniformed institutions to use locally produced garments, President Buhari said unbelievable number of jobs will be created when the military, police, para-military organisations including the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), fully patronise local industries.
He urged state governments to buy into this policy for their schools, hospitals and other institutions.
On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which Nigeria recently signed, President Buhari said: “We have developed a comprehensive strategy to fully optimise the benefits” with necessary safeguards in place. He stressed that, “our priority remains to create jobs in Africa for Africans using a large proportion of African raw materials.”
Speaking on behalf of the Union, the General Secretary, Comrade Issa Aremu, commended President Buhari for being the first Nigerian leader to grant the 41-year-old body an audience, and making the revival of the textile industry a campaign topic.
Mixed reactions trail ministerial list
ixed reactions have trailed the 43-man ministerial list sent to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari for screening and confirmation.
While it was kudos for the President in some quarters, it was knocks in others. Among those who spoke on the list, yesterday, with New Telegraph correspondents include elder statesman and Second Republic presidential aide, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai; former governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; chairman of the Enugu State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ben Nwoye, some members of the House of Representatives and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Yakassai, who dismissed the list, said it makes mockery of Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade given the nomination of certain individuals perceived by Nigerians to be corrupt.
“The ministerial list submitted by the President to the Senate is representative enough, but the nomination of certain people perceived to be fantastically corrupt made mockery of the President’s war against corruption.
“The fact that returnees are many means the policy of the new government will not be much different with that of the outgoing. My only observation is that since majority of the nominees are already known to the President his delay in submitting ministerial nomination is unjustifiable,” he said.
The PDP, on its part, described the ministerial list as uninspiring and does not convey any sense of hope or purposeful governance under the APC.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, expressed disappointment that the list was replete with individuals who failed in their previous ministerial assignments.
“Indeed, such a ministerial list can only come from a leadership that does not have mandate of the people. It is a complete waste of time and cannot fulfill the expectation of Nigerians.
“Furthermore, in recycling failed yesterday’s men for today’s assignment, President Buhari and the APC have left no one in doubt that they have no vision to move our nation out of the economic and security predicaments into which they have plunged us in the last four years,” PDP said.
Some members of the House of Representatives, who also spoke on the list, expressed different opinions.
Former spokesman for the House and member representing Mayo Belwa/Ganye/Jada/Toungo federal constituency of Adamawa State, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, said it was a welcome development, especially with the return of some old ministers who performed well in the first term.
However, Hon. Dachung Musa Bagos (PDP, Plateau) differed from the submission of his colleagues as, according to him, nothing new will come out of the ministerial list. “I don’t think there will be any positive change. One, there are few women on that cabinet, meaning women are not well represented. Second, there are no youth’s representatives. The younger generation is not given any opportunity. Therefore, we should be ready for old ideas.”
Also toeing the same line, Hon. Mark Gbillah (PDP, Benue) said the general impression is that Nigerians are disappointed seeing former ministers on the list of cabinet by a government that promised next level.
Uduaghan, who congratulated President Buhari for transmitting his ministerial list to the National Assembly in record time, said: “For us in Delta State, Festus Keyamo’s appointment did not come as a surprise to us. Festus has distinguished himself and has shown capacity in his previous post as spokesperson of our Presidential Campaign Council. His appointment is very welcomed to the APC family in Delta State.
“Some of my brother former governors and other nominees that made the cut have something tangible to contribute to the next level programme of Mr. President. I know them and I am sure they can function creditably well with any portfolio given to them at the end of the day.”
Reps divided over calls to declare Shi’ite terrorist group
Members of the House of Representatives yesterday disagreed over the call to declare the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, led by detained Sheik Ibrahim Elzakzaky, as a terrorist group and declare it unlawful in the country.
The disagreement arose following the presentation of a motion brought under matters of urgent public importance by Hon. Mohammed Shamsudden Bello (APC, Kano) on alleged terrorist activities of Shi’ites’ members and the need to proscribe the organisation.
While presenting the motion, Bello noted with concerns that; “the act of terrorism perpetrated on Monday, July 22, 2019, by members of the IMN within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that destabilised political, constitutional, economic and social structures or the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He further noted that before now, “members of the Shi’ite group have done and threatened to do an act preparatory to and or in furtherance of an act of terrorism, including destroying public utilities, attack on security personnel such as the Nigerian Police and Civil Defence Corps.”
The lawmaker pointed out that this act seriously intimidated the population of Abuja and its environs and also damaged or intended to damage the corporate existence of Nigeria as a nation; adding that such violent and unlawful assembly became sporadic and had led to the loss of lives and property.
Bello lamented that the police appeared incapable of taming the violence as a result of the violence perpetrated by members of the IMN; saying that there was need to direct the Inspector- General General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to initiate the proscription of the INM and declare their assembly unlawful in Nigeria.
According to him, “the incident of 22nd July, 2019 is disheartening, especially as it led to the death of a deputy commissioner of police as reported by Nigeria Lawyers, an electronic media outfit.”
He argued that the House passed the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 and the penal code law as applicable to the FCT and the northern region of this country.
In particular, section 100(d) declared unlawful assembly of persons, whose common objective was by no means of criminal force or show of criminal force to enforce any right or supposed right; concluding that; “members of IMN cannot under any guise of protest engage in bloodshed or violence as well as destruction of economic activities, which seriously intimidate the population and the sovereignty of the nation.”
Bello submitted that; “If urgent steps are not taken to proscribe the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shi’ite) or declare their assembly unlawful in Nigeria, the group may likely arm itself and turn a deadly group like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Boko Haram.”
The lawmaker therefore urged the House to constitute an ad-hoc committee to investigate the matter and added that it should recommend appropriate measures to address this menace in one week.
Consequently, the legislators were divided; those who spoke in favour of the motion include Hon. Adeniyi Olajide (PDP, Oyo); Hon. Onofiok Luke (PDP, Akwa-Ibom); Leke Abejide (ADC, Kogi); Thomas (PDP, Delta); Ifeanyi Momah; Jimoh Olajide (APC, Lagos) and Hon. Francis Agbo (PDP, Benue). They contended that the existence of the group and its activities were exacerbating the problem of insecurity in the country.
In his contribution, Leader of the House, Hon. Garba Alhassan Ado Doguwa (APC, Kano), appealed to the Shi’ites members to sheath their swords and refrain from killing and embrace dialogue, insisting that; ‘killing of Nigerians is un-Islamic.’
Buhari appoints nine ex-govs, 14 ex-ministers into cabinet
arely two months after his inauguration for a second term, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, forwarded a list of 43 ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation.
This is as the Senate resolved to commence screening of the nominees today just as it suspended relevant sections of its Standing Orders, to enable the lawmakers to sit on Friday this week and Monday next week, with a view to completing the assignment in one week.
The apex legislative chamber also resolved to postpone its recess by one week, in order to finish the ministerial screening. The Senate would have embarked on its annual recess at the end of this week, a holiday which usually lasts six or seven weeks.
The new cabinet is unique in many respects. It has nine former governors and 14 former ministers who had served the nation at different times.
It is the largest cabinet since 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic rule having 43 nominees.
In previous dispensations, the cabinet usually consisted of 42 members made up of one nominee from each of the 36 states and an additional one nominee from each of the six geo-political zones in the country.
The current cabinet is also unique in the sense that the North-West region, which has seven states – Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara – and should have had a maximum of eight ministerial slots, now has nine.
Similarly, there are seven female ministers which appear to be a response to recent agitations for more gender sensitivity and inclusiveness in the governance system.
Top on the list of nominees were the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio; former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi; former Governor of Benue State, Senator George Akume; former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige.
Also nominated into the new cabinet were former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; former Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo; former Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timipre Sylva.
The appointment of Akpabio and Akume, who served in the Eighth Senate, is seen largely as a reward for their unflinching support for their party.
The two former lawmakers were believed to have lost their return bids to the Senate in the 2019 general election as a result of their ardent support for President Buhari, a situation that pitched them against their constituents.
The 14 former ministers who served in the last cabinet and have been re-nominated as ministers include: Ngige (Labour and Employment), Onu (Science and Technology), Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture), Hadi Sirika (Aviation), Ameachi (Transport), Abubakar Malami (Justice) and Adamu Adamu (Education).
Other returning cabinet members are: Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs), Fashola (Works, Power and Housing), Muahammad Bello (FCT), Zainab Ahmed (Finance), Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Power and Housing, State), Suleiman Adamu (Water Resources), and Osagie Ehanire (Health, State).
The seven women that made the list are: Maryam Katagum (Bauchi), Sharon Ikeazor (Anambra), Ahmed (Kaduna), Ramatu Tijani (Kogi), Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara), Pauline Tallen (Plateau) and Sadiya Umar Farouk (Zamfara).
Other ministerial nominees are: Uche Ogar (Abia); Godie Jerry Agba (Cross River); Festus Keyamo (Delta), Clement Agba (Edo); Ali Pantami (Gombe), and Emeka Nwajuba (Imo).
Nwajuba is currently serving as a member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the Accord Party.
Also on the ministerial list are: Sulaiman Adamu (Jigawa); Dr. Muhammad Mahmud (Kaduna); Sabo Nanono (Kano); Maj.-Gen. Bashir Saleh (Kano).
Other are: Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamowora (Lagos); Zubairu Dada (Niger); Olamilekan Adegbite (Ogun), Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo); Sunday Dare (Oyo);, Mohammed Maigeri Dengaji (Sokoto), Saleh Momoh (Taraba); and Abubakar D Aliyu (Yobe).
Meanwhile, former Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the immediate past Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, were conspicuously missing from the list.
Again, the former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who was highly expected by many Lagosians to make the list, was also not nominated.
“Why do you expect Ambode to be in the list; has he finished serving his punishment? Don’t you know that he is under punishment for disobeying the National Leader of the ruling party? Abeg, leave Ambode out of this matter and let us discuss another thing.
“You want to tell me that you don’t know that there are people who determine what happens in this country? Remember that “Otoge” has not taken place in Lagos as it happened in Kwara; and until it happens, Nigerians will still be at the mercy of the whims and caprices of a few who think that Nigeria and Nigerians are in their pockets,” a highly disappointed observer sarcastically expressed.
In his remarks after presenting the list to his colleagues, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said that the screening of the nominees would commence today.
Most of the senators had earlier expressed willingness to get the ministerial nominees screened before embarking on their annual recess, which is usually between six and seven weeks.
This led to several speculations and miscalculations in media reportage, trying to predict the time of presentation of the list to the apex legislative Chamber by Buhari.
Briefing journalists after plenary, the spokesman for the Senate, Dayo Adeyeye, disclosed the resolution of the Senate to suspend its recess by one week, and also to hold plenary sessions on Friday this week and Monday next week.
His words: “The Senate is going to do the confirmation hearings without delay. Consequently, the Senate has decided to alter its timetable. To this effect, plenary will hold on Friday this week and Monday next week.
“We have decided to make a lot of sacrifices to make sure the ministerial nominees are screened before we go on recess. We will work in unusual hours. We are going to work until we are tired on Friday. We will sit till late, to ensure that we conclude the confirmation next week.”
Adeyeye also said that the Senate would drop anybody who did not perform up to the expectation of the lawmakers, expressing doubts however, if any nominee would not perform well, considering the credentials of the nominees.
IMF revises Nigeria’s growth projections upwards to 2.3%
he International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised upwards Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate projection for 2019 to 2.3 per cent from its April estimate of 2.1 per cent.
It also marginally revised the country’s growth rate projection for 2020 to 2.6 per cent from its previous forecast of 2.5 per cent.
This comes even as the Fund has further reduced its global growth outlook and cautioned that policy “missteps” on trade and Brexit could derail a projected rebound.
The IMF said in its latest quarterly World Economic Outlook (WEO) released yesterday that the world economy will expand 3.2 per cent this year and 3.5 per cent next year, both down 0.1 percentage point from April projections.
Similarly, it stated that Sub-Saharan African growth is expected at 3.4 per cent in 2019 and 3.6 per cent in 2020, 0.1 percentage point lower for both years than its projections for the region in the April WEO.
According to the IMF, strong growth in many non-resource-intensive countries partially offset the lackluster performance of the region’s largest economies.
The Fund said: “Higher, albeit volatile, oil prices have supported the outlook for Angola, Nigeria, and other oil-exporting countries in the region. But growth in South Africa is expected at a more subdued pace in 2019 than projected in the April WEO following a very weak first quarter, reflecting a larger-than-anticipated impact of strike activity and energy supply issues in mining and weak agricultural production.”
The IMF, which also slashed expectations for growth in the global volume of trade in goods and services, reducing its estimate by 0.9 point to 2.5 per cent in 2019, stated that: “The projected growth pickup in 2020 is precarious, presuming stabilization in currently stressed emerging market and developing economies and progress toward resolving trade policy differences.”
It further stated that: “Downside risks have intensified since the April 2019 WEO. They include escalating trade and technology tensions, the possibility of a protracted risk-off episode that exposes financial vulnerabilities accumulated over years of low interest rates, geopolitical tensions, and mounting disinflationary pressures that make adverse shocks more persistent.”
The IMF also cited the uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the European Union as another factor dampening global growth outlook.
“The forecast assumes an orderly Brexit followed by a gradual transition to the new regime. However, as of mid-July, the ultimate form of Brexit remained highly uncertain,” the Fund stated.
According to the IMF, inflationary pressures in developed economies like the U.S., Europe and Japan remain low, nothing that this led major central banks to maintain historically low interest rates or further ease their monetary policy stances.
“Lower inflation and entrenched lower inflation expectations increase debt service difficulties for borrowers, weigh on corporate investment spending, and constrain the monetary policy space central banks have to counter downturns, meaning that growth could be persistently lower for any given adverse shock,” the IMF said.
NNPC secures $3.15bn loans for OML 13
he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has secured a $3.15 billion loan with five-year recovery period from Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company Limited (SEEPCO).
The loan comes in a 10-year capital investment period, the corporation declared yesterday, noting that it covers financing and technical services and are projected to be instrumental to increasing the nation’s crude oil reserves and daily oil production to 3 million barrels per day.
SEEPCO and the exploration and production arm of NNPC, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), signed the deals for the development of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 13.
OML 13 is 100 per cent owned by the NPDC and is located in the eastern axis of the Niger Delta covering a total area of 1987km2.
Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, described the funding arrangement as “a game changer to oil and gas project financing in Nigeria.”
According to the statement issued by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, the Federal Government is expected to earn over $10.2 billion in royalties and taxes from the project over the next 15 years.
“NNPC would earn over $5 billion after payment of the entire financing obligation,” the statement added.
The GMD, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer (Upstream), Mr. Roland Ewubare, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the transaction, adding that OML 13 held strong potentials both for the petroleum industry and the nation’s economy.
He advised the management of NPDC to develop a strong community engagement strategy to forestall any crisis that could hinder operations.
The GMD disclosed that the acreage boasts of over 926 million stock tank barrels (mmstb) and 5.24 trillion cubic feet (tcf) respectively of oil and gas reserves, adding that the Financing and Technical Services Agreement was for a period of 15 years, while the $3.15 billion ceiling funding would be provided by SEEPCO with a 10-year capital investment period and five years for cost recovery.
First oil of about 7,900bpd is expected from the project by 1st April, 2020, while production is expected to peak at 94,000bpd and 542mmscfd within four years.
On local content, the project is expected to enhance participation by indigenous companies in the industry by providing over 2,000 direct and indirect job opportunities.
Also speaking at the occasion, Chairman of Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company Limited, Mr. Tony Chukwueke, expressed delight at the opportunity offered the company to support the production and reserves growth aspiration of the Federal Government.
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