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Xenophobia: We’re sorry, S’Africa begs Nigerians

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Xenophobia: We’re sorry, S’Africa begs Nigerians

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has apologised to Nigerians over recent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in his country.

President Ramaphosa’s apology was conveyed through his special envoy, Jeff Radebe, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday.

Radebe, at a joint press conference, said: “The president has deemed it appropriate to send us to meet with the Nigerian leader.

“Our young people must believe in the future of Africa. All of us must play our parts to ensure that this incidence does not happen again.

“We met a short while ago with His Excellency, President Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to convey our President, Ramaphosa’s sincerest apologies about the incident that have recently transpired in South Africa.

“Those incidents do not represent what we stand for as a constitutional democracy in South Africa and the president has apologised for these incidents. He has also instructed law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned that all those involved must be brought to book, so that the rule of law must prevail in South Africa.”

The presidential envoy continued: “He also conveyed his belief that both Nigeria and South Africa must continue to play a critical role in the rebuilding of Africa to attain the agenda 2063, the Africa that we want.

“We also recall with fond memories the historical times that existed between Nigeria and South Africa during the dark days of apartheid; we always knew that the Nigerian people and their government always stood behind our leaders who were fighting against the obnoxious system of apartheid.

“Even, Nigerian families contributed to make sure that apartheid was ended and even though Nigeria is far from South Africa, it was regarded as the frontline state because of the principled stand that all leaders of Nigeria made to end the system of apartheid.

“We also remember, among others, President Murtala Mohammed, who played a key role and, of course, the founding father of the Nigerian nation, President Nnamdi Azikiwe.

“So, we believe that the crisis, as the minister has just described, must serve as an opportunity for us to make sure that the level of unemployment, poverty and inequality in Africa is attended to by our leaders.

“We also expressed the president’s wish that when His Excellency, President Buhari pays his state visit to South Africa on the 3rd of October, the bi-mission commission that exists between the two governments that has now been elevated to the heads of states level, will serve as a forum to address all those issues of mutual concern about South Africa and Nigeria.

“I’m very happy to have been here to convey this message to President Buhari and leave with very good information that President Buhari has given to us to take back to President Ramaphosa.”

 

On Nigeria’s insistence on compensation to victims of the attacks, Radebe said: “During President Buhari’s state visit to South Africa, there will be detailed discussions, which will be held there. I do understand that the issue of compensation or restitution is part of the agenda in the draft the Nigerian government has presented to South Africa. So, I think we should wait until October 3rd to see how that unfolds.

“But I can indicate, as a lawyer, that the South African laws require that all registered companies must have public insurance in terms of things of this nature. But, like I said, that meeting will just be held.”

On the apprehended attackers of foreign nationals in the country, the South African special envoy said: “The law enforcement agencies are working day and night to apprehend all those involved in this unfortunate incidents. I’m told that over 50 people have been arrested thus far. I think we should wait until the whole issue has been resolved. It is a security cluster led by the Minister of Defence, as well as the Minister of Police, that are working round the clock to ensure that all those that are alleged to be involved in these incidents are brought to book.”

Commenting on why it took South Africa so long to take this step since xenophobia is not a recent development, Radebe said: “This incident has been happening from time to time, but I recall that it always coincided with economic tough times in our country. As you know, we are still emerging from the system of apartheid, where, according to statistics, the last unemployment rate in South Africa was around 29 per cent.

“It seems to us that some of these incidents occur in areas where there is poverty, unemployment and fight for scarce resources. But having said that, no amount of hunger or hardship justifies the looting of property and killing of people, whether they are South Africans or foreigners. We regard that as an act of criminality.”

The South African envoy, meanwhile, noted that the economy of the country was currently being impacted as a result of those attacks.

“Obviously, there is an impact of this event on the economy and that is why the president, at his level, deemed it necessary to send us as special envoy, so that we take appropriate steps and measures to deal with these incidents.

“At the end of the day, we believe that the ‘Agenda 2063, the Africa we want,’ is one that will help not only South Africa, but the whole of Africa, to unite around that common agenda of ensuring that our people, especially young people, must believe that the future of Africa is bright.

“So, it is the responsibility, therefore, not only of governments of Nigeria and South Africa, but of ordinary citizens, to play their parts in ensuring that these incidents do not reoccur.”

Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, at the press conference, however, cleared the air on whether the Nigerian ambassador to South Africa has been recalled.

Onyeama told the gathering that the diplomat “has not been recalled, but has been asked to just come and give a comprehensive picture of events there to Mr. President.”

Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, in a statement, said Buhari reminded the South African team on the roles played by Nigeria in engendering majority rule in South Africa and ending the apartheid segregationist policy.

He disclosed that during the closed door meeting, President Buhari recounted that he was a junior military officer to Generals Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo, who were military heads of state at different times in the mid to late 1970s.

According to Buhari, “Going back to historical antecedents, we made great sacrifices for South Africa to become a free state. I was a junior officer to Gen. Murtala Muhammad and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. They were not operating in a democracy, but they got Nigerians to support them in the bid to see a free South Africa.

“Our leadership was quite committed to the cause. We made sacrifices, which younger people of today may not know. During my last visit to South Africa with the late President Robert Mugabe, it was very emotional, as Mugabe spoke about Nigeria’s contribution to free South Africa.”

Buhari extended appreciation to President Ramaphosa, through the special envoy “for coming to explain to us what happened in South Africa recently, leading to the killing and displacement of foreigners.”

Buhari, in response to the profuse apologies from the South African President, pledged that the relationship, which exists between the two countries “will be solidified,” while describing the xenophobic attacks as “very unfortunate.”

Radebe, the statement further said, apologised on behalf of his president for what he described as “acts of criminality and violence” that recently occurred, adding that “such do not represent our value system or those of the larger number of South Africans.”

The special envoy disclosed that 10 people died during the attacks – two Zimbabweans and eight South Africans. He said there was no Nigerian casualty.

He added that South Africa remains eternally grateful for the role Nigeria played in ending apartheid and hoped that the coming visit of the Nigerian president would solidify relationship between the two countries.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Florentina Jonthan

    September 18, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Now South Africa are looking for forgiveness from there generation to there generation by the special grace of almighty God I pray that, south Africa will never have peace and they will never have rest except the inosect people among them because they have shared alot of books

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Border closure: Ghana trade union calls for boycott of Nigerian goods

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Border closure: Ghana trade union calls for boycott of Nigerian goods

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has called for a boycott of goods imported from Nigeria.

The union made the call following the closure of the Nigerian border. In August, the Federal Government closed land borders to check activities of smuggling.

But David Kwadwo Amoateng, regional secretary of GUTA, said the Nigerian government is not being fair to foreign traders.

Amoateng said boycotting goods from Nigeria would serve as pay back “to their government’s action.”

“Either somebody’s bread has been buttered or we are cowards. Government is not being fair to us,” GhanaWeb quoted him as saying.

“Let’s boycott Nigerian products as payback to their government’s action. How can we be slaves in our own country?”

According to online newspaper, TheCable he said Dangote cement had taken over the market in Ghana while the local ones were suffering.

Last week Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana’s foreign and regional integration minister, visied Geoffrey Onyeama, her Nigerian counterpart in Abuja and appealed to the Federal Government to allow goods from her country into Nigeria.

And over the weekend the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at its meeting in Washington, US, noted that the border closure would impact negatively on Nigeria’s neighbours – Republic of Benin and Nigeria – and appealed for a speedy resolution to the issue.

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Militants kill four soldiers, one police officer in Burkina attack

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Militants kill four soldiers, one police officer in Burkina attack

Four soldiers and one police officer have been killed in two attacks on military outposts in northern Burkina Faso, the Burkinabe army said on Saturday.

Raids by Islamist militants as well as clashes between herding and farming communities have surged this year, killing hundreds of civilians and soldiers, reports Reuters.

In the early hours of Saturday, the unidentified assailants attacked a military position in the town of Bahn and another in the village of Yense, the army said in a statement.

The attacks happened “almost at the same moment,” it said.

The troops were able to retain control of their posts and repel the attackers, it said.

Once a pocket of relative calm in the Sahel, a semi-arid belt beneath the Sahara, Burkina has suffered a homegrown insurgency for the past three years, which has been amplified by a spillover of jihadist violence from its chaotic neighbor Mali.

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Building knowledge economy, only way to national development –Falana

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Building knowledge economy, only way to national development –Falana

Renowned lawyer and activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) has said that tertiary education is the cornerstone for Nigeria economic growth and national development.

He stated this while delivering the 9th Convocation Lecture of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos State at the graduation ceremony, which held recently.

The lawyer added that training of students in universities is vital for both formal and informal education for the onward transmission to building a knowledge economy, new challenges in life and for establishing a civic duty to the society.

Falana, however, said that it seems that institutions of higher learning have eluded the cross border or global dimension of the changing global landscape, especially in relation to knowledge. “Thus, a striking question is how we implement policies for the openness to new ideas, and for setting up institutions to promote competitions.”

He said the university ought to have prepared the graduates to grapple with the challenges of life. “Bu

due to lack of opportunities and abuse of academic freedom the education acquired here has partially prepared the graduates to face the vicissitude of life.”

The lecturer therefore said for Nigeria to find its unique way of gaining impressive achievements in economic growth and poverty eradication, political departments should constantly monitor the political system, track budget performance at the federal, state and local government levels in order to ensure even and balanced development of all areas of the country.

Earlier in his speech, the Chancellor of the university, Brig Gen. Mobolaji Johnson (rtd) charged the graduates to remain worthy ambassadors of the university wherever they find themselves, “always uphold the truth, holiness and above all, modesty in all that you do.

The Pro-chancellor, Prof. ‘Fola Tayo in his speech congratulated the graduating students urging them to make use of what they have learnt in the university for the development of the country. The Acting vice-chancellor, Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie in his convocation address said the imperative of building a world-class university and to make the university an unmatchable aesthetic showpiece, demands the growth of all elements of the university dream, simultaneously, systematically and holistically.

Giving the highlights of the graduating students, the VC said compared to 409 graduates in 2017, and 477 graduates in 2018, 733 students are graduating at the convocation this year with 24 first class, 235 second class upper division, 255 lower divisions and 30 in third class.

The postgraduate had 19 distinctions, 160 pass with the overall best graduating student this year is Otibhor Imuse with CGPA of 4.85 from the college of Pure and Applied Sciences and the overall best graduate at the post graduate level is Temitope Adedayo-Ojo with CGPA of 4.96.

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Buhari to Govs: Stop frustrating federal projects

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Buhari to Govs: Stop frustrating federal projects

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resident Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday accused State governors of frustrating the execution of Federal Government projects through withholding of lands.

The President in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, warned that henceforth, the Federal Government might be forced to re-allocate projects elsewhere if any state government or communities create unnecessary impediments in the allocation of land or access to such lands for federal projects.

According to Garba, Buhari in a recent directive to Ministers requested them to have the states clear all lingering land issues threatening federal projects under their supervision or have such projects moved to willing states where that becomes impossible.

He said: “The idea of chasing away contractors on site or making undue demands from them by local communities or the deliberate actions of state governments to frustrate the allocation of lands for federal projects is an antithesis of the people’s welfare,” the President warned.

President Buhari regretted that some communities in the states are frustrating the siting of federal projects in their areas by making impossible demands for land compensation on contractors and even chasing them away from site where they are unable to meet up.

To compound matters, contractors kept away from site often make further demands on payment whenever they return to site.

Buhari also noted that the refusal to allocate lands for federal projects or the growing hostility  by communities against contractors on site are hurting the interests of the very people governments are elected to serve.

“By denying federal government lands for projects and creating unnecessary obstacles for the execution of these projects, it may be unfair to turn around and accuse the same federal government of marginalising people in terms of projects allocation.”

“When it comes to the welfare of the people, governments at all levels should be united by the common goal of improving the well-being of the people, regardless of political affiliation,” the President stressed.

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Presidency: Ango Abdullahi wants to break Nigeria –Afenifere

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Presidency: Ango Abdullahi wants to break Nigeria –Afenifere

…over comment that North’ll rule for 100 yrs

 

 

•He’s bad influence on Northern youths, says Ohanaeze

 

 

•It’s hate speech –MASSOB

 

 

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oruba socio-cultural organisation Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), through its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, has said that a one-time Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and Chairman, Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi’s stance that the region will rule Nigeria for the next century if it so wishes is capable of breaking the country.

 

 

Abdullahi had said that the region would support only candidate from the North in the race for President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023, adding that  zoning has no place or ground in the constitution of the country.

Odumakin in an exclusive interview with Sunday Telegraph said:  “If they think they can do whatever they like in Nigeria, they are only deluding themselves. No one will take that from them. Ango Abdullahi and Junaid Muhammed want to break this country by their comments. But we are committed to the Unity of this country. What we are saying is that we should restructure Nigeria and let everybody hold on to his resources and develop according to his pace. But that somebody will be dictating to us from Abuja, we will not allow it.

 

“2023 is not our main concern. What we want is the restructuring of Nigeria and let each federating unit rule his own area and let us contribute to the centre. 2023, 2027, 2031, nothing good will come out if we do not restructure Nigeria.”

 

 

Speaking in the same vein,the Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, through its National Assistant Publicity Secretary, Mazi Chuks Ibegbu, described the Northern elder as an agent of hate speech, who, being at the twilight of his life, should be a good model to Northern youths instead of  an agent of confusion.

 

 

Ibegbu said he was happy that Abdullahi was not speaking for the North, noting that there are fair-minded Northerners who are already rooting for the Igbo to produce the next president of Nigeria as a matter of justice and equity.

While deploring those trying to distract the present administrations at state and federal levels with the politics of 2023, which he said was still far away, he called on all the political parties to zone their presidential tickets to South East for the sake of fairness and equity.

He said: “Does Ango Abdullahi think he will live till next year? How can somebody play God? Is he God, does he know how long he will live on earth?

“Number two, he claims that the North has the population; he should stop saying that rubbish. There has not been any credible census in Nigeria to prove the population of any part of Nigeria, so all these assumptions are fake and bogus.

 

 

“Thirdly, I’m happy he is not speaking for the North because in the North, there are so many credible people and a few other Northerners have said that it is the turn of the Igbo. So, he is just self-acclaimed, he is not speaking for the North, he is speaking for himself, Ango Abdullahi.

 

 

“He is a merchant of hate speech, he is known for circulating, even at his age now, instead of being a role model for Northern youths, he is an agent of darkness. At his age instead of mentoring young people, he is causing confusion everywhere, making some provocative and disruptive statements.

“I believe he is not speaking the mind of Northerners, he is speaking his own, mind and people should discontinuance him.

“In the interest of justice and equity, I’m calling on all political parties to zone their presidency to South East when the time comes. But the time is so far off, I don’t know why people should be talking about 2023 when nobody is even sure of living the next day.

“They should not distract the present government and governors at all level with 2023 politics. When the time comes, equity and justice should be there.”

Also lending credence to it, the Movement for Actualisation of the State of Biafra (MASSOB) said the former university administrator is testing the waters to know how other sections of the country would react

“We know that Ango Abdullahi has suddenly become the systematic mouthpiece of the Fulani cabals as he would always disclose the true plot of the Fulani cabal and test the waters for them to know how Nigerians will react,” the group said.

In a statement signed by the MASSOB National Leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu, the group said: “If they must know, the current clamour across Nigeria for a president of Igbo extraction come 2023 has gained traction and the ugly scheming to scuttle the idea has commenced.

“And that is exactly why the services of the likes of Ango Abdullahi, who is always available for hire, have been procured to do a hatchet job. But he is swimming against the tide, only he does not know it yet.”

MASSOB, however, urged the Southern and Middle belt regions not to be distracted by the antics of Ango Abdullahi because he belongs to the class of Northern elders who contributed to the decades of impoverishment of the north.

He continued: “And the North knows this; which is why whenever Abdullahi is angling for power to the North, his people understand that he actually means power to enrich the few and impoverish the vast majority of Northerners presently living on the bread line.

“Ango Abdullahi and his kind should be apologising to the entire Northern Nigeria for the sad legacy of perpetual poverty bequeathed in the region in the midst of plenty.

“Nevertheless, Abdullahi’s statement represents the most grievous kind of hate speech, in a country that runs a democracy and constitutional governance. Whoever told him that he can denigrate regions of the country at will and always has his way, knows so little about the laws of nature and the human spirit.”

Madu noted, however, that though their non-violence quest for a sovereign state of Biafra remains unshakable, MASSOB will not stand against the clamour for a president of Igbo extraction in Nigeria.

“Even if the Igbo man becomes the president of Nigeria, it will not stop our agitation for Biafra,” he said.

One-time head, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Nigerian Army, Major-General Ishola Williams (rtd), commended the Ohanaeze Ndigbo for talking with others in order to make the Ndigbo presidency a reality in 2023.

“The onus of responsibility lies on the Igbos. The wise ones have seen the need to ensure that all political parties, big and small, have a quality Igbo man or  woman as presidential candidates with a Middle Belter as VPs.

“In addition, it is good that Ohanaeze Ndigbo has started the process of doing this. The negotiations with ethnic groups must also continue.

“Their representatives, senators and governors must not pay lip service to true federalism with subsidiarity. I repeat subsidiarity.

“The Igbo in the Diaspora must start donating to a massive fund for the primaries and elections. They have the experts abroad in political strategic campaign etc. I for Igbo, G for governance B best, O for Orderly NIGERIA,” he said.

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IMF: Border closure hurting Benin Republic, Niger economies

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IMF: Border closure hurting Benin Republic, Niger economies

•Laments elevated level of poverty, others

 

 

T

he closure of Nigeria’s land borders is adversely affecting the economies of Benin Republic and Niger, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

Director, African Department, IMF, Abebe Selassie, disclosed this at a press briefing at the ongoing IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC.

 

“On the border closure in Nigeria, which has been impacting Benin and Niger, our understanding is that the border has been closed, reflecting concerns about smuggling that’s been taking place, illegal trade, not the legal trade that you want to facilitate,” he said.

“So we’re very hopeful that, you know, discussions will resolve the challenges that this illegal trade is fostering.  To be sure, if the border closure was to be sustained for a long time it’s going to definitely have an impact on Benin and Niger, which of course, rely quite extensively on their big brother next door.  So, we hope that there will be a resolution to that.”

 

Abebe also advised the Nigerian government to continue to invest in healthcare, infrastructure and education.

“You know, one of the things that strikes me about Nigeria is not just the variation in both economic outcomes, but also development, and social outcomes across this very large country,” he explained.

“So, you know, in parts of the country, there are elevated levels of poverty, infant mortality, maternal mortality. These are really important indicators of well-being, which are very high in some parts of the country; and in other parts of the country are comparatively very low.

“So, there’s this big variation in poverty outcomes, economic outcomes, as you know in your country. So, I think a really important focus, of course, is to try and identify those areas where these outcomes are really weak and, perhaps, region specific and ensure that the required interventions are done,” he added.

 

Besides, he advised the Federal Government to continue to design policies that would drive the diversification of the economy as well as ensure reduced reliance on crude oil, which he said, tends to dominate the country.

“We must be sounding like a broke record when it comes to Nigeria, he said. “You know, the key way in which, of course, the government can address poverty, that challenge is by investing more in infrastructure, of course; but in health, in education and that requires resources; and that can only come from higher non-tax revenues, which remain, of course, very low at around seven per cent in the country.

 

“So, if there is a single policy lever that the government could address over the next couple of years, it is this non-tax revenue.  But, you know, this is not lost on policymakers, of course; and the 2020 finance bill is seeking to address that.”

Moreover, he said the AfCFTA, would contribute significantly to facilitating trade in the region, adding that a study by the IMF showed that the continental trade pact holds tremendous opportunities in driving higher economic growth.

“You know, one of the things about inter-Africa trade is that when countries are trading with the rest of the world, we tend to export natural resource commodities,” he explained.

 

 

“So, Nigeria exports oil to the rest of the world. But trade between countries tends to be that of manufactured, more processed good.  Partly of course this is because most countries produce natural resources so they don’t trade that with each other but they export it.”

On the level of inflation in Nigeria, Abebe said a mixture of factors had kept inflation around double-digits in the country, despite the low level of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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Jonathan, Atiku, Oyetola, others congratulate Gowon on 85th birthday

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Jonathan, Atiku, Oyetola, others congratulate Gowon on 85th birthday

F

ormer President Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila have all felicitated with former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), on his 85th birthday.

In his goodwill message to the elder statesman on Saturday, Dr Jonathan described General Gowon as a brave leader who served his country with honour, pride and love.

According to him, the passion and patriotism of the octogenarian have continued to grow as he contributes to the nation’s growth and development.

 

 

The former President wished the former Head of State more strength and peaceful years.

Similarly, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has also felicitated with General Gowon.

He also prayed that God grants the elder statesman more years to continue to serve his country.

On his part, Governor Oyetola described the former leader as a patriot and commended him for his steadfastness in displaying an uncommon high sense of commitment to achieving a united Nigeria.

 

 

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan on Saturday, Oyetola, noted that most of Gowon’s legacies were enduring and had direct impact on the lives of young Nigerians.

The governor said: “But for the NYSC scheme introduced by the Gowon’s administration, I probably would never have been to a town called Postikum in present day Yobe State.

 

 

“I am proud to say that I taught at the Staff Training Centre during my one-year mandatory youth service. And it is an experience I relish with pride.

“Your Excellency sir, you have remained committed to the peace, unity and progress of Nigeria. Your recent visit to our dear state bears further testament to that. We will forever remain grateful to you.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has described Gowon, as a symbol of national unity.

 

 

Gbajabiamila eulogised Gowon’s love for Nigeria and his belief in the oneness of the country.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, Gbajabiamila said it is to the credit of Gowon that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which brings Nigerians together, came to being in 1973.

 

 

“On this day, I join millions of Nigerians, and friends of Nigeria, to celebrate this icon and symbol of national unity as he marks 85 years on earth.

“In the years since he retired from active service, Gen Gowon has worked across the country to see to the establishment of peace and abiding prosperity and it is this work that will long be remembered as his greatest legacy.

“Nigerians will not forget in a hurry that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which worked to bring Nigerians together at a critical time in our history, is the brainchild of this great Nigerian. Indeed, the history of our country will not be complete without a mention of Gowon.

“On this occasion of his 85th birthday, I join fellow Nigerians in offering special prayers to Allah to grant General Gowon continuous good health, protection and guidance.”

The Speaker, Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr Abok Ayuba, has also congratulated Gen. Gowon.

In a congratulatory message issued by his Director of Press, Mr Bulus Atang, on Saturday in Jos, the speaker described Gowon as a “rare gem”.

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7.5% VAT: FG ‘ll use extra revenue to fund education, health –Ahmed

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7.5% VAT: FG ‘ll use extra revenue to fund education, health –Ahmed

F

ederal Government is considering ring-fencing the extra funds from the recent increase in its value-added tax rates to fund education and health.

It is hoped that the effort will make the VAT increase more acceptable to taxpayers.

Minister of Finance and Budget Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this in an interview on Friday with Bloomberg at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Washington DC, United States of America.

This came on the heel of the Minister’s disclosure that the Federal Government’s infrastructure master plan requires as much as $3 trillion over 30 years to bridge the infrastructure deficit in the country.

“To achieve this, we need fiscal sufficiency, we need buoyancy, which must come through domestic revenues, for it to be sustainable,” she said.

She said putting the extra taxes aside for a specific purpose could help address some of the dissatisfaction about the increase. “We thought doing the ring-fencing will give people comfort and assurance, and enable a closer scrutiny on how that VAT increase is used.”

Africa’s largest oil producer is struggling to boost revenue and the tax base. The government had only collected 58 per cent of the 2019 revenue target as of June, President Muhammadu Buhari said earlier this month.

This was due to shortfalls in both oil and non-oil earnings with the government takings from crude sales 49 per cent below target. Nigeria has missed annual earnings projections every year since 2016, according to the budget office.

Nearly 60 per cent of Nigerians don’t pay taxes, a survey of 10,000 adults carried out in 2018 by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group showed.

Hajia Ahmed said: “A government is run by taxes, not by revenue from natural resources like oil and gas”.  “Over time our people have gotten used to not being pushed to pay taxes, so any move you make to improve the enforcement, to increase rate, will always meet with resistance.”

According to Bloomberg analysis, Nigeria’s VAT rate is low compared to many of its peers in the region. The proposed new levy of 7.5 percent will still only be half of what it is in South Africa. The ratio of VAT to gross domestic product is only 0.8 per cent. “It is time for this to be done. But that’s not to say we will slow down on the effort to expand the tax base. “The budget office recently announced a proposal to raise the value-added tax rate to 7.5 per cent from 5 per cent as part of efforts to boost revenue. While this may have some impact on inflation, it won’t be significant and will moderate after some time, Ahmed said.

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NEMA suspends fertilizer supply to Benue flood, herders attack victims

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NEMA suspends fertilizer supply to Benue flood, herders attack victims

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday said it has suspended supply of fertilizer to victims of last year’s flood disaster and Fulani herdsmen attack in Benue and 17 other states of the federation through its Emergency Agricultural Intervention (EAIS) Scheme.

 

Deputy Director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Dr. Ejike Martins disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Makurdi, Benue State, when he visited the Executive Secretary of Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Emmanuel Shior.

Ejike who said that 17 other

 

 

states where the Federal Government’s intervention is also applied are equally affected, further said that only five out of 23 local government areas in Benue State were captured in the distribution of the farm input, while 18 others were outstanding before the order came.

He disclosed that 39, 927 bags of fertilizer were distributed in those local government areas, with a balance of 75, 709 bags for the remaining 18 councils.

 

 

“It is a national directive to suspend for now and when government says suspend, it has a lot of implications and interpretations. It could be a review of the programme, nobody can predict what government wants to do but the government is the owner of the work so they said for now, suspend.”

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We’re hungry, Nigerians cry out

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We’re hungry, Nigerians cry out

D

espite series of federal and state governments’ poverty alleviating intervention programs aimed at tackling hunger in the land, many Nigerians can still hardly get food to eat, let alone meet the human-designed three meals per day.

From Kano to Port Harcourt to Ibadan, the story is the same. There is massive hunger in the land, which clearly flies in the face of claims by the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, to the contrary.

Sunday Telegraph survey carried out in Ibadan, Kano, Port Harcourt and Lagos, clearly showed that prices of goods and services are beyond the average Nigerian.

In Kano, because of the influx of migrants from  villages, towns and even outside the shores of Nigeria, it has become difficult if not impossible for many residents to enjoy the poverty alleviation programmes as many go to bed on empty stomachs.

The price of commodities heading northwards in Kano markets with paucity of funds have combined in making many hungry.

A retired civil servant, Sani Tijjani, who now lives from hand to mouth, even though he receives a monthly pension, says he is finding it difficult to feed his family.

“The situation we are in is so desperate, the alarming hunger in the land is so glaring. You could directly feel how I’m stinking, to show you that even to wash my clothes is a big deal, talk much less of what I would eat,” he told Sunday Telegraph.

Asked to compare the situation to that of the  Civil War and post war times, Sani said presently, the condition has not reached that of the Civil War time, but he stressed that there is hunger in the land and many homes have fallen victims of the situation.

An officer working with one of the banks in Kano, but who pleaded anonymity, told our Correspondent that he used to attend to one or two persons, but now, on a daily basis, more than 10 to 15 people come to solicit for one form of assistance or the other, which he is unable to meet.

In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the situation is not different. The prices of foodstuff are going through the roof.

A community leader in Olorunsogo, Ibadan, Mr Kehinde Ayelaagbe,72, bemoaned the current state of the economy, which he attributed  to the closure of borders by the Federal Government.

He said: “The costs of goods are now too high in Nigeria. The closure of borders at this austere period is so excruciating especially to the poor masses. Our local production has not reached the level being envisaged by our leaders. But I will not blame them because many of them do not know where the shoe pinches the common man since they live in comfort zone.”

For Alhaja Sekina Bayewumi, a rice merchant at Bodija Market, Ibadan, “The closure of borders has its positive and negative effects. If Nigeria must grow, we have to strive to attain economic independence. It is only that Rome was not built in a day. We need to endure a bit, though the cost of goods is now getting very high. The Federal Government should find some means of palliatives to cushion the effects. Though it is what we buy that we sell, reasonably, things are hard these days.”

In parts of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, many are not happy with the rising cost of foodstuff. Not quite long ago in this expensive city, it was possible for some residents to arm themselves with N200 and manage to buy cooked rice, beans and a piece of beef. But currently, it is difficult to feed with N200.

A tailor in Port Harcourt, who specializes in traditional outfits, Alake Ephraim, said that the country is going down very fast and that the Federal Government should take immediate action.

Ehpraim, who also works as an estate agent, said that rice which he used to buy in bags is now bought in paint buckets because “it is too expensive.”

For one-time head, Training Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Nigerian Army, Major General Ishola Williams (rtd), there is a lot wastage in the food chain.

“Go to the markets, there is a lot of rotten food and fruits,” he said in an interview with Sunday Telegraph.

He continued: “Upper class journalists like you eat and throw away the leftovers. It is the same with leftovers from bukas, restaurants and hotels etc. How do you transfer these leftovers to the hungry or stop the waste in the food chain?

“There is always the problem of storage and keeping food from getting bad. There are greedy traders who hoard or create artificial scarcity to make illegitimate and immoral gains.”

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