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Council disburses N11bn to 36 auto firms to boost local production


n line with its mandate, the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) has disbursed N11 billion to 36 auto companies in an effort to boost local production of vehicles and spare parts in the country. Jelani Aliyu, DirectorGeneral, NADDC, made

this known in Abuja yesterday during a meeting with the Governor Aminu Masari.of Katsina State, He said the meeting with the governor and state’s officials was to discuss a proposal for the setting up of an integrated automobile mechanic and motor spare parts village in Katsina state.


According to him, the disbursement of the fund was also to support the auto policy of the Federal Government. ” I tell you that out of the N11 billion loan, 20 companies have repaid their loan of N7.75 billion in full,” aliyu said. He said the council was constructing three auto-

Vol. 06 No. 363

motive service hubs as part of strategies to ensure the successful implementation of the auto policy. “Other things to improve our standards are the construction of three automotive testing centres, three automotive industrial parks and seven automotive training centres,” Aliyu said.

He said establishment of the mechanic village in Katsina state was in line with the automotive policy to empower Nigerians and boost local contents in the production of made in Nigeria vehicles. Aliyu said that Nigerians spent about 8 billion dollars annually on importation of vehicles.

“About 8 billion dollars go to overseas for importation of vehicles while Nigerians are suffering, also most of the used vehicles imported are unsafe and not good for the citizens,’’ he said. According to him, the council has trained 20, 000 youths on N-Power in

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ISSN: 2408-6703

Democracy Day: Buhari pledges peaceful, united, prosperous nation


resident Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja reiterated his administration’s commitment to a secured and united Nigeria just as he pledged uplifting the socio-economic life of the nation’s over 180 million citizens . In his Democracy Day speech, President Buhari said: “I was involved at close quarters in the struggle to keep Nigeria one. “I can, therefore, do no

more than dedicate the rest of my life to working for the unity of Nigeria and the upliftment of Nigerian lives,” he said. The President gave accounts of how the country had given a lot to him and why it would be wrong for him not to give back to the country. “I have had the privilege of free education from primary school to Staff College to War College. “ I received my formative

education in Katsina and Kaduna and my higher education in England, India, and the United States. “I have worked and served in Kaduna, Lagos, Abeokuta, Makurdi, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Ibadan, Jos, and finally here in Abuja. “Throughout my adult life,

I have been a public servant. “I have no other career but public service. I know no service but public service,’’ he said. He added that from his past experiences and recent interactions during his political campaigns, he held the belief that Nigerians desired to live

together in peace. “Before and during my time in the Armed Forces and in government, I had interacted with Nigerians of all ages and persuasions and different shades of opinion over a period of more than fifty years. “During the 2002 to 2003 campaigns and elections, I trav-

elled by road to 34 of the 36 states of the federation. “In 2019 I travelled by air to all 36 states of the federation. “And my firm belief is that our people, above all, want to live in peace and harmony with their fellow Nigerians. “They desire opportunities

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Are there benefits for deceased investors’ companies? Page 7 Rising subsidy: N8.92trn budget implementation concerns heighten Page 9 FG renames Abuja Stadium after Abiola

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Tinubu congratulates Lawan, Gbajabiamila, urges closer ties with executive Page 30

President Muhammadu Buhari inspecting Guard of Honour in Abuja during Democracy Day.. yesterday

CBN 2020 mobile money agents target not feasible By Niyi Jacobs


here are indications that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may not be able to meet its year 2020 target of having 500, 000 mobile money agents

across the country. This is so because the commercial banks have so far enrolled only 65,753 of such agents ,leaving about 434,247 to meet the CBN’s projection less than two years to 2020.

According to latest data obtained from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), the total number of enrolled mobile money agents in the country stood at 38,416 as at December 2018.

With Q1 2019 figures released by NIBSS recently showing that a total of 27,337 of the agents were enrolled in the first three months of this year, it means that the nation now has about 65,753 officially

registered mobile money agents. The NIBSS data also shows that the number of mobile money customers recorded in the industry at the end of 2018 and in the first quarter of this year, stood at

8.5 million and 2.3 million respectively. This means that the total number of mobile money customers in the country currently stands at 10.8 million.

President Buhari’s Democracy Day speech (1)



I, formerly known and addressed as NWADIOKE NNEAMAKA, now wish to be known and addressed as CHIGBATA PHILOMINA. All documents bearing my former name remain valid. General public and Authorities Concerned should please take note.

4 THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2019


United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Stuart Symington (R), presenting a plague to the former National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Dr Patrick Olabiyi, during the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Heroes Awards as part of activities to mark the 15th Anniversary of PEPFAR in Abuja recently.

(L-R): Former Economic & Financial Crimes Commission Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; former Presidential Liasion Officer to the Senate, Alhahji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, former All Progressives Congress Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande; APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, ex-Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, former APC National Vice-Chairman, South-west, Chief Pius Akinyelure and former Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, when they visited the APC leader at his Abuja residence on the occasion of June 12 National Democracy Day

President Muhammadu Buhari (M) flanked by the newly elected Senate President Senator Lawan Ahmed, Deputy Senate President Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and others at his residence State House in Abuja. PHOTO: SUNDAY AGHAEZE.

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo recieving country leaders and dignitaries for the celebration of Democracy Day

From left: A broadcaster, Abiodun Adewole; Oyo State Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Abbas Aleshinloye; and a resource person, Ibrahim Lawal, at a symposium organised by Oyo State ALGON to mark June 12 anniversary in Ibadan on Wednesday.

L-r: Publicity Secretary, Yoruba Summit Group. Mogaji Adejumo, Royal father of the day, Oba of Aguda Land, Ikeja, Oba Akeem Shuaib, Convener, Aare ono kakanfo of Yoruba Land, Iba Gani Adams, President, Women Arise, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin and Guest speaker/Senior Lecturer, Department of political science, University of Lagos, Dr Dele Ashiru, at the commemoration of June 12, 1993 election, in Lagos, yesterday. Photo: SUNDAY ADESANYA

Representative of Lagos Governor and Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat (middle), with Chairman of the Occasion, Retired Gen. Alani Akinrinade (left) and retired Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu during the maiden June 12 National Democracy Day celebration, at the De Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Ikeja, on Wednesday.

L-r: Guest speaker, Prof. Pat Utomi; Deji Abiola; Coverner, June 12 Movement of Nigeria, Comrade Wale Okumiyi; Deputy Governor, LAGOS State, Obafemi Kadiri Hanzat; former Commissioner of Imformation, Lagos State, Dele Alake and Mrs Lola Edewor daughter of MKO, during the Commemoration of June 12 by June 12 Movement of Nigeria at Abiola House in Ikeja Lagos. PHOTO; SUNDAY ADESANYA




IMF Board approves reform package to boost LICs lending



he International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently approved reform initiatives to fast track lending to Low Income Countries (LICs). The 2018-19 review of the LICs facilities framework appraises the experience with use of the facilities since they were established and draws lessons on how the facilities might be adjusted to better meet the needs of LICs in the context of the changing economic landscape that they face. The reforms proposed included, an increase in access limits and norms, within the financing constraints of the self-sustained PRGT, to address erosion of access limits. Better tailoring of LIC facilities to the needs of fragile and conflict-affected states and to states vulnerable to natural disasters, including through increased access to the RCF. The proposals also include, better targeting of scarce subsidy resources to the poorest and most vul-nerable countries by expanding the use of blending of concessional and non-concessional financing for higher-income LICs with substantial access to international financial markets. The proposal also called for heightened attention to debt sustainability and transparency through strengthening safeguards for high access and exceptional access cases, as well as changes to some fea-tures of the Standby Credit Facility (SCF) and Extended Credit Facility (ECF) instruments to increase their flexibility. On May 24, 2019 the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the 2018-19 Review of Facilities for Low-Income Countries, Reform Proposals and the companion Review of the Financing of the Fund’s Concessional Assistance and Debt Relief to Low-Income Countries. Westafrica BusinessNews recalls that, the current framework for IMF concessional lending and pro-gram support for low-income countries (LICs), was established in 2009, and includes three lending facil-ities and one non-financial instrument. The facilities are, the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) used to provide financial support to countries fac-ing protracted balance of payments problems. The Standby Credit Facility (SCF) is used to provide fi-nancial support to countries facing actual or potential short-term balance of payments needs; while the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) is used to provide emergency financing to countries facing urgent bal-ance of payments needs, including as a result of natural disasters, fragility or conflict situations, and other adverse shocks. The Policy Support Instrument

Christine Lagarde

(PSI) is used by countries that have a broadly stable macroeconomic position who wish to provide a signal to private investors and development partners regarding the strength of their economic policies along with a framework for provision of Fund policy advice and technical assistance. Financial support under the IMF’s LIC facilities is provided on concessional terms, with the interest rate set at zero since 2009. Subsidies needed to lend at concessional interest rates are provided by the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT), which is administered by the IMF. The Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) operates on a self-sustaining basis, with income from investments of the resources in the trust fund covering the costs of these subsidies over time. Given the size of the trust fund, there are annual and cumulative limits on the amounts eligible countries can borrow on concessional terms to ensure that the PRGT is not depleted. Meanwhile, the 2018-19 review of the LIC facilities framework reviews the experience with use of the facilities since they were established and draws lessons on how the facilities might be adjusted to bet-ter meet the needs of LICs in the context of the changing economic landscape that they face. The Fund revealed that the review took place against the backdrop of rising income levels in most LICs, along with greater trade and financial integration of LICs into the global economy. This has implied a gradual erosion of the limits on access to concessional financing relative to LICs’ GDP levels and exter-nal financing needs since the last access increase in 2015. Several countries have

experienced a sharp increase in temporary financing needs as a result of falling export prices, while the increasing frequen-cy and intensity of natural disasters has led to greater demand for emergency financing. At the same time, debt vulnerabilities have risen across many countries, while fragility and institutional weaknesses continue to impede economic progress in a wide range of countries. Accordingly, the staff papers prepared for Board discussion concluded that the general framework of IMF facilities for LICs remains broadly appropriate, while noting that some changes were warranted in response to evolving challenges. The reforms proposed included, an increase in access limits and norms, within the financing

constraints of the self-sustained PRGT, to address erosion of access limits. Better tailoring of LIC facilities to the needs of fragile and conflictaffected states and to states vulnerable to natural disasters, including through increased access to the RCF. Better targeting of scarce subsidy resources to the poorest and most vulnerable countries by expand-ing the use of blending of concessional and non-concessional financing for higher-income LICs with substantial access to international financial markets. Heightened attention to debt sustainability and transparency through strengthening safeguards for high access and exceptional access cases, and Changes to some features of the SCF and ECF instru-

Financial support under the IMF’s LIC facilities is provided on concessional terms, with the interest rate set at zero since 2009. Subsidies needed to lend at concessional interest rates are provided by the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT), which is administered by the IMF.


ments to increase their flexibility. The companion Financing Review paper concluded that the proposed reforms to the LIC facilities are consistent with preserving the financial self-sustainability of the PRGT, with risks evenly balanced over the medium term. The Facilities Review is part of a wider policy work agenda related to the IMF’s engagement with LICs. It follows the May 2019 Board paper on Building Resilience in Developing Countries Vulnerable to Large Natural Disasters , draws on the findings of the 2018 Review of Program Design and Conditionality, and is coordinated with the parallel Review of the PRGT Interest Rate Structure and the upcoming review of Eligibility to Use the Fund’s Facilities for Concessional Financing, 2019 . Executive Directors who welcomed the opportunity to discuss reforms proposed in the Review of Fa-cilities for Low Income Countries (LICs) and to review the financing of the Fund’s concessional facilities and debt relief to LICs, were encouraged that the Fund has remained actively engaged in supporting LICs during the challenging period since the 2013 review of facilities for LICs. Directors emphasized that the Fund has a key role in supporting LICs, through policy advice, financing, capacity development, and catalyzing donor support. They supported the proposals to increase access to concessional financing and enhance the flexibility and tailoring of the Fund’s toolkit to country specific needs, subject to maintaining the self sustainability of the PRGT. To this end, Directors endorsed the package of proposals in the Facili-ties Review and Financing Review. Directors broadly endorsed a generalized increase of one third in access limits and norms to ensure that the Fund can provide adequate financial support to LICs as needed, while maintaining PRGT self sustainability. They also approved for increase in the scope for providing Fund support to members that experience urgent balance of payments needs from large natural disasters, Directors supported a further one third increase in the cumulative access limits under the RCF for disbursements associated with such disasters, in addition to the generalized access increase. Directors agreed to increase annual and cumulative access limits under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) by one third and to increase the cumulative limit by a further one third for disbursements associ-ated with large natural disasters, which would expand the scope for providing emergency financial support to countries that are not eligible for concessional financing while preserving broad harmoniza-tion of access limits across the RFI and RCF.



Africa’s industrialisation: Employing local strategy for global competitiveness



rof. Landry Signe, Global Economy and Development, Africa growth Initiative at Brooking Institute in a report has noted that now that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has come into force, policymakers and the business community must prioritize, develop, and implement smarter local strategies to seize the rising opportunities in manufacturing and industrialization across a variety of sectors and increase the global competitiveness of the conti-nent. Signe in the report noted that right now, only 10 African countries which include the Mauritius, South Africa, Sey-chelles, Morocco, Tunisia, Botswana, Algeria, Kenya, Egypt, and Namibia are ranked among the top 100 most competi-tive countries in world, per the 2018 Global Competitiveness Index. Given that an integrated continent will have a larger supply market, decreased trade restrictions, and free movement of people, manufacturing specialization will accelerate and make Africa’s industrialization globally competitive, Signe observed. “As we have noted before, if the AfCFTA is successfully implemented, Africa’s manufacturing sector is pro-jected to double in size with annual output increasing to $1 trillion by 2025 and create over 14 million jobs”, he re-counted. It was observed that one of

The potential of manufacturing and industrialization in Africa: Trends, opportunities, and strategies” offers concrete recommendations for policymakers and investors to make Africa a globally competitive manufacturing powerhouse the key objectives of the AfCFTA is to enhance competitiveness at the industry and en-terprise level through exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources. According to him, one pathway to success will be effective AfCFTA implementation and better national ownership and alignment with Agenda 2063, the African Union’s strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent. “Agenda 2063 aims at creating a “strong, united, and influential global player and partner,” turning African countries into the best performers in global quality of life

measures and accelerating inclusive growth, including through indus-trialization, import substitution, and employment”, he stated. According to him; unsurprisingly, manufacturing and industry—fundamental for overall economic growth and poverty alleviation—feature prominently. A robust manufacturing industry can provide well-paid jobs for large numbers of low-skilled workers, increase average household incomes, boost domestic demand, stabilize economies against ex-ternal shocks, and contribute to innovation and diversification. The AfCFTA and Agenda 2063 hope to reverse Africa’s premature deindustrialization and tap

into the vast number of manufacturing opportunities that persist, including in software, auto components, industrial and business machinery, chemicals, agro-processing, and clothing and footwear subsectors, among others. Indeed, some countries already claim advantages in certain subsectors. “One example is Kenya, whose relatively strong industrial manufacturing sector accounts for nearly 20 percent of the country’s economic activity and 12.5 percent of all formal jobs, and which has become the primary supplier of motor vehicles for East African markets”. He pointed that already, in countries such as Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa, business-to-business spending is a major contributor to growth, and these countries are beginning to implement poli-cies to capitalize on this opportunity. Increased business-to-business spending will also improve African firms’ ability to specialize—an essential determinant of growth in manufacturing—as necessary inputs can be sourced from other businesses or neighbouring markets, rather than produced in-house. The projected increase in Africa’s business-to-business spending in manufacturing by $200 billion to a total of $666.3 billion by 2030 presents further opportunities to advance manufacturing for the continent given the free trade area. “In fact, manufacturing goods

constitute a higher percentage of intra-African exports, compared to extra-African ones (41.9 percent compared to 14.8 percent in 2014). The business-to-business market is made up of thousands of firms, many of them smaller businesses, with substantial demand for materials, goods, and services across a wide range of sectors. Several African countries have made substantial progress in implementing industrial policies, even if more can be done: South Africa’s Industrial Policy Action Plan, which coordinates ministries and policy areas and prioritizes industri-alization over trade and other economic goals, has supported the country’s manufacturing growth by attracting in-vestment and boosting industrialization. In Morocco, the government has incentivized a shift within the manufacturing sector toward automotive assembly—a lucrative market—by offering fiscal and tax incentives in some free zones. Finally, Zambia offers benefits within its six pilot multi-facility economic zones around the capital, Lusaka, where VAT payments on inputs are eliminated and cor-porate tax payments are reduced or deferred. This pilot project has already attracted $120 million in investment from different companies. Even if the ultimate re-sponsibility for industrial development lies with national governments that should reduce the cost of doing business, improve industrial infrastructure, and invest in human capital, among other factors, the AfCFTA offers a unique oppor-tunity to increase competitiveness and scale production for a single continental market. “Overall, the stereotypical narrative that African countries are limited to producing and trading goods for external mar-kets is not representative of the continent’s improving supply and demand statistics. Policymakers should now identi-fy the gaps in their national agendas and implement policies that benefit local production and offer enticing opportuni-ties to foreign investment. Investors, on the other hand, should consider where manufacturing inputs can be sourced locally to reduce costs related to transport, import tariffs, and exchange rate fluctuations. Prof. Signe is of the view that Africa has many of the necessary resources to build its manufacturing potential, and suc-cessful integration will make the African continent the primary beneficiary of its industrial development. “While African countries move toward continent-wide integration, “The potential of manufacturing and industrializa-tion in Africa: Trends, opportunities, and strategies” offers concrete recommendations for policymakers and investors to make Africa a globally competitive manufacturing powerhouse”, he stressed.



Are there benefits for deceased investors’ company?


ecently, the worrying of unclaimed dividend has become more prevalent because it is believed that the continued rise is detrimental to the growth and development of an emerging market that wants to achieve a world class market and attract direct foreign investment. One of the major reasons responsible for the growth of unclaimed dividend concerns issues of shareholders who have died and without information on next of kin, multiple applications by applicants during the investment process and deliberate actions to deny investors their benefit through various schemes by some registrars and companies who lack liquidity to pay. Other factors are loss of dividend warrants following poor postal system, change of mailing addresses without notifying the registrars and lack of awareness on the part of some investors. The Managing Director, Crane Securities Limited, Mr. Mike Eze, traced the genesis of the rising wave of unclaimed dividend to indigenisation era of the administration of General Yakubu Gowon. “During this exercise, those in position of authority who had the wherewithal, acquired shares in the privatised companies with fictitious names of their drivers, cooks, gardeners, dead brothers, dead fathers etc in such a way that when the dividends came, they were not able to claim them. Speaking in the same vein, the Managing Director, Highcap Securities Limited, Mr. David Adonri, explained that unclaimed dividends are increasing every year due to several factors. According to him, the problem started several years ago during the indigenisation exercises when several shareholders made multiple subscriptions in fictitious names whose signatures they cannot remember. He noted that the affected shareholders are also unable to open bank accounts in these fictitious names for the purpose of e-dividend collection. He added that most of the unclaimed dividends are statute barred and forfeited to the companies in which case recovery by the affected shareholders may not be possible in the absence of means of identification. In a bid to further reduce the quantum of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market, the Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC) recently urged beneficiaries of deceased investors to step up efforts to claim such dividends. This was stated by the Acting Director General of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk in her welcome remarks at the enlightenment programme for Lagos State Probate Registry. Uduk, who was represented by Acting Executive Commissioner Operations of the SEC, Mr. Isyaku Tilde, said the purpose of the enlightenment programme is to give participants an understanding of the operations of the capital market, especially in the area concerning transmission of shares and administration of estate, areas in which the Probate Registry is a key stakeholder. She stated that one category of

The worries over unclaimed dividend by deceased investors, has always be the concern for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). NIYI in this analysis spoke with some financial analysts on step up efforts to claim such dividends.

Ms Mary Uduk

investors whose investment yields have contributed to the growth of unclaimed dividends are deceased investors, whose beneficiaries as indicated in the will or letter of administration are yet to claim the investments and accrued dividends through the share transmission process. According to her, “the capital market is a market for raising medium to long term capital via a number of instruments. The most popular of the instruments are shared and bonds with resultant yield of dividends and inter-

ests respectively. “However, the quantum of unclaimed dividends in the Nigerian capital market has been on the increase, as investors fail to claim the dividends from their investment in shares. Uduk also congratulated the Probate Registry on the recent commissioning of the e-filing probate registry, saying it will guarantee integrity of data, provide for online tracking of applications, simplify and shorten the application process of Letter of Administration and grants.

This e-Probate system was introduced primarily to ensure a more efficient delivery of services to ele-ments of the public. It is aimed at reducing significantly the length of time required to obtain a Grant, whether in the Ikeja or the Lagos Division

She therefore restated the readiness of the SEC to collaborate with the Probate Registry staff so that together the Nigerian capital market can become a desirable investment destination. In a keynote address, Hon. Justice A.A. Oyebanji, who represented the Chief Judge of Lagos State, commended SEC on the enlightens programme, which she said will go a long way in aiding the staff of the probate registry on the discharge of their duties. Oyebanji said the Registry processed legal instruments for the administration of the real and personal estate of a deceased person who was resident in Lagos State and who owned landed properties in the state. She disclosed that the Probate Registry in Lagos State is now fully computerized and all applications must be made online. “This e-Probate system was introduced primarily to ensure a more efficient delivery of services to elements of the public. It is aimed at reducing significantly the length of time required to obtain a Grant, whether in the Ikeja or the Lagos Division” she added. Uduk said: “The essence of the E-Dividend Mandate Management System is to eradicate or reduce to the barest minimum the incidence of unclaimed dividend. Unclaimed dividend is an undesirable feature of the Nigerian capital market, which denies investors/shareholders the gains of participating in the capital market.

It denies the economy access to the huge amount of money, which should have accrued to shareholders and would have gone into circulation to oil the wheel of the economy. “It is a consequence of the bottlenecks, which are inherent in the erstwhile paper dividend warrant regime such as postal system inefficiency, change in investors’ addresses, poor fidelity and human fallibility in dividend payment processes, amongst others.” She stated that the E–Dividend regime bypasses these limitations by ensuring that dividends, which do not exceed 12 years of issue are credited directly to an investors account after declaration by the paying company and within a stipulated payment period through simple interbank transfer. The founder and former National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, said for the objective of e-dividend to be achieved, “There is a lot of jobs to be done, that has been compounded by Know Your Customer (KYC) of banks. Many people in those days used shares as gifts to relatives and friends, which included rural dwellers and up till now many of them have no bank accounts. All these ought to be taken into consideration and addressed; it is definitely going to be a problem getting the rural dwellers to key into the system. “It is estimated that we have about 10 million retail shareholders and only some few ones have complied. This means that they need to do a lot of work and that it will take many years to achieve 80 per cent compliance”. According to the President, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Mr. Boniface Okezie, the aim might not be feasible unless given a legal backing. “SEC needs to continue to lobby the National Assembly to expunge the issue of dividend warrants certificates in CAMA,” he said. “The arrangement is an understanding but it is not yet a law. SEC first of all needs to do the needful by increasing awareness for e-dividend and seek the amendment of in the law. “They can’t make it mandatory unless the law is amended. The only thing they need to do now is to keep on its enlightenment campaign to persuade investors to key into the system.” While considerable efforts have been made by NSE, SEC and other stakeholders to educate shareholders and address some of their complaints on the need to embrace e-dividend, solution to the problem of unclaimed dividend in Nigeria will eventually be found if public apprehension of the capital market is substantially allayed with a better structured public awareness campaign to be jointly anchored by regulators and market operators for the education of shareholders and the protection of their interests, especially the small stock holders.



Donors pledge $17m to support Africa’s food security BY BONNY AMADI


he donor conference was attended by the presidents of Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, the prime minister of Eswatini and several high-ranking diplomats, ministers and development and banking institu-tions African and non-regional donors on Tuesday pledged $17 million to replenish the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, an initiative which aims to provide food security and eliminate rural poverty on the continent. A report made available to our correspondent by the APO group on behalf of the AfDB , disclosed that the pledges were made at a high-level donor round table convened by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Equatorial Guinea President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, on the sidelines of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) 2019 Annual Meetings in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Opening the conference at the Sipopo conference center Equatorial Guinea President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said the Fund illustrated “a turning point in the fight against food insecurity” and said his tiny oil-rich nation had donated generously out of its oil revenues to show solidarity to African coun-tries. The Fund, an initiative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, received its start-up contribution of $30 million from Equatorial Guinea, the host nation of this year’s meetings and Angola, which gave $10 million. Its projects have been lauded for providing innovative solutions for African ag-riculture and food systems. Speaking on behalf of African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, Bank Vice President Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke said Africa faced challenges in the area of agriculture and food production, relying heavily on food imports.

“It’s so important that ASTF is showing that African countries are contributing to Africa..that links very closely to what we are doing,” Blanke said, adding that the Bank’s commitment to providing farmers with technologies to help improve their yields. The donor conference was attended by the presidents of Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, the prime minis-ter of Eswatini and several high-ranking diplomats, ministers and development and banking institu-tions. The theme of the Bank’s meetings this year is “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity.” The push for regional integration has gained momentum with the ratification of the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area( AfCFTA) in March 2018, which is now at the threshold of its launch in July. “You can count on us that we will be very involved,” she said. Ms Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Direc-tor-General of FAO who represented FAO head José Graziano da Sil-

va, commended the Fund for its re-sults. The Fund has led to the successful implantation of 18 projects that have benefitted 41 countries and hundreds and thousands of beneficiaries, including 160 vulnerable households in Niger who saw transformation and grants which enabled a rapid response to populations affected in the Ebola out-break in west Africa in 2014. “We celebrate the success of the ASTF … the excellent results of the fund over the last 5 years is living testimony,” Semedo said, describing it as a flagship initiative and one of the most successful funding initiatives in FAO. She said the generosity of the donors was unique evidence of strong solidarity be-tween African countries. The meeting raised a total of $17 million - $10 million from Angola, $2.6 million, from China, Euros 2 mil-lion from France, $2 million from Equatorial Guinea and $100,000 from Zimbabwe.

Nigeria greatest contributor to wealth in W/Africa — AfDB


he African Development Bank (AfDB), says Nigeria is the greatest contributor to wealth creation in West Africa, contributing about 75 per cent of regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Mr Ebrima Faal, AfDB Senior Director for Nigeria said this in an interview with newsmen at the ongoing Annual Meetings of the Bank in Malabo. According to Faal, Nigeria’s trade policy is anchored on ECOWAS, as it continues to play a coordinating role in the region through both the government and its vibrant private sector. He said that in terms of free movement of persons, Nigeria had performed relatively well by ratifying the relevant ECOWAS instruments concerning free movement of persons, rights of establishments and free movement of workers. According to him, Nigeria allows nationals holding valid travel document from all other ECOWAS coun-tries to enter its shores visa-free. Faal said that Nigeria had continued to make strides in trade integration with efforts to


...charges African governments on elimination of non-tariff barriers The President Africa Finance Development Bank (AFDB) Akinwumi Adesina has on Wednesday charged African leaders to fasttrack the continent’s regional integration process in order to accelerate Africa’s economic transformation. Adesina charged the African leaders, awhile speaking at the opening ceremony of the Bank’s 2019 Annual Meetings, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, with the theme: “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity.” “Apart and divided, Africa is weakened. Together and united, Africa will be unstoppable,” the Bank’s President Akinwumi Adesina told delegates at the packed Sipopo Conference Center. Adesina urged African governments to work toward the elimination of non-tariff barriers. “Pulling down non-tariff barriers alone, will spur trade by at least 53%, and potentially double trade,” he said. The opening ceremony was presided over by the host nation’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Also in attendance were King Letsie III of Lesotho; President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, Prime Minister of eSwatini. High-level government officials from Rwanda, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Côte d’Ivoire were also present.

In his opening speech, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo recalled that Equatorial Guinea, once one of the poorest countries in the world, has since been radically transformed with one of the highest per capita incomes on the continent. “For me, development is not about per capita income, it is about expanding the opportunities for the people to live a more dignified life,” Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said. “Equatorial Guinea is open for business. We are committed to regional integration for shared prosper-ity. We count on the African Development Bank to help us achieve economic diversification and the consolidation of social equality.” Regional integration is one of the Bank’s strategic High 5 agendas to rapidly advance Africa’s economic transformation. In the past several years, the African Development Bank has invested over $13 billion in the central African region. “And for every dollar invested, the region has leveraged $36, an incredible rate of re-turn of 36 times,” Adesina noted. The Bank’s investments include the construction of the Central African fibre optic network that con-nects the population with faster and less expensive access to the Internet, and is boosting businesses and regional integration.

In his remarks, Equatorial Guinea’s Finance Minister Cesar Mba Abogo said: “Progress is the realisation of utopia. This is a country of utopia in Africa, with independence and the ability to control our own destiny. It seemed impossible at first in the last century but it was done. Now our utopia is regional integration.” More than 2,000 participants are attending the Annual Meetings, a unique opportunity to share the Bank’s perspectives on the state of Africa’s economy. The meetings also provides updates on the Bank’s work and serves as a platform for the exchange of views on emerging issues shaping the future of the continent. The Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea, the president of the Senate, members of governments, the diplomatic corps as well as the African Development Bank’s Governors, Executive Directors, and other dignitaries attended the opening ceremony. “There’s excitement in the air on Africa’s economic opportunities, and those opportunities are bound-less. The newly ratified Africa Continental Free Trade Area will make Africa the largest free trade zone in the world, with a combined GDP of over $3.3 trillion,” Adesina said.

harmonise documentation and streamline processes that would allow for the free flow of trade across its bor-ders. The country director said “Nigeria has an active Export Promotion Council (NEPC), which champions implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, the main operational tool for promoting Free Trade in West Africa. He, however, said that there was still much to be done on the integration of its productive value chains, especially in the areas of agriculture and the manufacturing sector for exports. To this end, he said that the Ebonyi Ring Road project approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in April, would open up Enugu State to trade with Cameroon and other neighbours. He said that the project, though the initiative of the state government, was a regional road as it cross-es through the Enugu-Bamenda road corridor at two points, thereby providing residents in the area with easier access to Cameroon. According to him, the AfDB is partnering with the Ebonyi Government to realise the project. “In April 2019, the Bank approved a loan package of 70 million dollars for the Ebonyi State Ring Road project. “While the project is a state initiative designed to link eight of the 13 local government areas in the state, it has strategic dimensions as it crosses the Bemenda road corridor at two points. “Thereby providing residents in its zone of influence with easier access to Cameroon.’’ Faal said the Bank would continue to focus on improving the institutional framework for the coordina-tion and management of regional projects through capacity support ECOWAS and other regional spe-cialised institutions. The specialised institutions, he said, are “power pools, corridors development authorities, river basin authorities, and regional statistical authorities’’, and national regional integration coordination agen-cies. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity’’. The Annual Meetings provide opportunities for experts, governments, businesses, civil society, think-tanks and the academia to share their candid assessments on regional integration efforts and dialogue on critical issues concerning Africa’s development. The meeting which opened on Monday with closed door sessions with dignitaries continues on Thurs-day.



Rising subsidy 2019 N8.92trn budget implementation concerns heighten BY BONNY AMADI


ould the implementation of Nigeria’s N8.92 trillion 2019 fiscal budget implementation be weighed down by inability of the government to meet up with its revenue targets for the fiscal year, driven by leakages? This, and many other issues have been brought to the front burner as expenditures linked to petrole-um subsidy, lesser million barrels of oil per day produced, ballooning cost of debt servicing and higher margin of debt servicing cost to revenue, as well as unstable global oil price, points to more accelerat-ed effort by the government to not only boost Internally generated revenue, but set structures to ensure that linkage channels are blocked. However, going by the report by the 8th senate committee on downstream petroleum, if the nation spent N11 trillion on subsidy, it means that N1.83 trillion is paid annually, while for the 2019 fiscal budget, only N304 billion was budgeted for petrol subsidies, of which N1.60 trillion is expected to be funded through new borrowing whilst N2.14 trillion was pencilled for debt servicing” Westafrica BusinessNews recalls that, before the winding up of the 8th national assembly, the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream said the country spent over N11 trillion as payment for out-standing subsidy claims in the last six years. All the subsidy arrears claims, it was reported, were based on three interrelated elements: subsidy, forex differentials and bank interests on unpaid claims. The N11 trillion payment in six years, reflects that every year, the federal government paid N1.83 tril-lion for outstanding subsidy claims during the period, but not thoroughly explaining how the payments were made, creates doubts on functionality of institutions that preach transparency and governance. The committee’s chairman, Kabir Marafa announced the payment, following adoption of the report of the committee the Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance for Oil Marketers Outstanding Claims and the approval of the payment of ₦129 billion as outstanding subsidy claims to 67 petroleum marketers, of which details were however not given. The SBM Intelligence report, in its week under review report subtitled “The budget as the Grim Reaper” noted that if the N11 trillion subsidy payment were right, it accounts for 20.5 per cent of Nigeria’s 2019 budget. “If the figures are correct, then Nigeria’s average annual spend on petrol subsidies comes to N1.83 tril-lion. To put this in context, this represents 20.5 per cent of Nigeria’s recently approved 2019 budget of N8.92 trillion (the government had budgeted only N304 billion for petrol subsidies), of which N1.60 tril-li-

on is expected to be funded through new borrowing whilst ₦2.14 trillion was pencilled for debt ser-vicing” The SBM Intel report further pointed that the report by the senate committee could not paint the whole scenario, “Still, this does not paint the whole picture, because whilst the expenditure side of the budget is likely to be exceeded, the revenue targets are unlikely to be met as the budget was con-ceived with benchmark oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day at a price benchmark of $60” The challenge of institutions that could check revenue leakages was further reinforced by the report which further noted that the senate committee in its report on payment of N11 trillion subsidy arrears in six years, failed to details on how the subsidy claims was spent “’However, the committee did not give details of how the N11 trillion was spent on subsidy claims” in addition to this, the Senate on Tuesday, 4 June 2019,approved the sum of N69 billion as oil subsidy claim for Premium Motor Spirit for 19 oil marketers. The 8th Senate committee chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Marafa observed that there were differences in submissions made by the Federal Ministry of Finance, PPPRA, and oil marketers. The report pointed out that all the subsidy arrears claims were based on three inter-related elements: subsidy, forex differentials and bank interests on unpaid claims. “If the figures are correct, then Nigeria’s average annual spend on petrol subsidies comes to N1.83 trillion. To put this in context, this represents 20.5% of Nigeria’s recently approved 2019 budget of N8.92 trillion (the government had budgeted only N304 billion for petrol

subsidies), of which ₦1.60 trillion is expected to be funded through new borrowing whilst ₦2.14 trillion was pencilled for debt servicing” The SBM report further spelt “’Still, this does not paint the whole picture, because whilst the expendi-ture side of the budget is likely to be exceeded, the revenue targets are unlikely to be met as the budget was conceived with benchmark oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day at a price bench-mark of $60. At present, the country’s oil production barely exceeds 1.9 million barrels per day and oil prices cur-rently hover just around $60 per barrel. In addition, there are reports that the Federal Inland Revenue Service will miss revenue targets, again. It further noted that “’In previous years, the Central Bank of Nigeria stepped in to fund the FG

largely through spreads made from its multiple foreign exchange rates, but with reports that the CBN’s own balance sheet has a gaping hole (which has forced the regulator to stop publishing its annual reports), it is hard to see how this year’s budget will be implemented” Meanwhile, on how Nigeria plans to finance its N8.92 trillion budget, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed had earlier disclosed that the country Nigeria plans to tap concessionary long-term loans to finance its 2019 budget in addition to borrowing at home, “We intend to fund the 2019 budget through borrowing locally and internationally with a spread of 50:50. Our focus is on concessionary long-term loans,” the finance minister was reported to have said. Ahmed acknowledged that there were challenges generating revenue,

In previous years, the Central Bank of Nigeria stepped in to fund the FG largely through spreads made from its multiple foreign exchange rates, but with reports that the CBN’s own balance sheet has a gap-ing hole (which has forced the regulator to stop publishing its annual reports), it is hard to see how this year’s budget will be implemented

but noted that the 2018 budg-et has performed well. She said the government had put in place strategies on how to finance the 2019 budget. Budgets under President Muhammadu Buhari, who started a second term in May, have been the country’s biggest ever, but has failed to provide the type of capital spending needed to improve infra-structure due to funding issues. The government has been seeking to boost revenue after it emerged from a 2016 recession barely three years ago. To enhance productivity, the central bank recently reduced its benchmark interest rate for the first time in four years by 50 basis points to 13.5 percent, a move that targets lowering lending rate and promoting growth. Budget, a Nigerian budget performance tracking body, noted that, for any meaningful change to occur, transparency is key especially as it concerns public finance. “Until all levels of the Nigerian government embraces budget transparency by releasing to the public a copy of the budget including, but not lim-ited to, the budget implementation report; any reform agenda will remain surface level” According to Budgit “The fight for a transparent Nigerian government is far from over. The walk to rad-ical transparency and a meaningful account is long but we are also in a hurry. So with the help and will-ingness of the average Nigerian to #AskQuestions, we believe that the Nigeria of our dreams will be actualised. We will continue our advocacy and campaigns for an open and transparent government that is accountable to the people who elected them to office”




Analyzing challenges of financial transactions encounter during public holidays Last week, the federal government declared a two public holidays for Nigerians, again there was another one tagged democracy day. During period seems to turned out to be a difficult period for many bank customers who tried to use electronic payment channels, as they had to contend with poor network challenges and long automated teller machine (ATM) queues. NIYI JACOBS writes


he recent data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), clearly shows that Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country have heavily invested in electronic payment channels over the last few years. For instance, according to the electronic-payment fact sheet for Q1 2019 released by NIBSS, the total number of deployed ATMs in the country jumped by 201 per cent (37, 487) to 56,102, in the first three months of this year from 18,615 at the end of last year. The data also shows that the total volume and value of ATM transactions during the period stood at 203 million and N1.5trillion respectively.Similarly, latest figures released by NIBSS indicate that a total of 28,770 new Point of Sale (PoS) terminals were registered by lenders in the first four months of the year, bringing the total number of registered PoS terminals in the country to 287,213 as at April 2019. A breakdown of the data shows that in January, 7,975 new terminals were registered by DMBs, in February, 5,854 terminals were listed, 2,161 PoS terminals were registered in March and a whopping 17,102 PoS terminals were listed in April. Expectedly, the increasing number of terminals has also resulted in a significant growth in the value of PoS deals in recent years. Thus, according to the NIBSS, last January, N217.457billion worth of transactions was carried out, which is 43 per cent higher than the N152.09billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2018. Also, in February, the value of transactions grew by 34 per cent from N144.876billion in 2018 to N193.426billion.Equally, the data shows that the value of transactions stood at N222.921billion in March 2019, which is 25 per cent higher than the N177.755 billion recorded in the same period in 2018. In April 2019, the value of PoS deals recorded stood at N246. 097billion compared with the N172.313billion for the same period last year. However, while the increased deployment of ATMs and PoS ter-

minals seems to point to a high level of acceptance of electronic payment channels in the country, findings by New Telegraph suggest a rising degree of dissatisfaction among bank customers who use such channels. For instance, many customers across the country who tried to use electronic payment channels during the two-public holidays declared by the Federal Government last week had unpleasant tales to tell about their experiences as poor network and insufficient funds resulted in unsuccessful PoS and ATM transactions respectively. For instance, the owner of a business center in the Okota area of Lagos, Mr. Sunday Oguntoyinbo, said: “I noticed that anytime I tried to carry out a transaction for customers, my PoS terminal will not work. Even when I resorted to using my mobile phone to transfer money, it took a long time for transactions to be concluded.” He expressed concern that more than seven years since the CBN launched its cashless policy to reducing cash usage through encouraging the use of e-payment channels, the banking industry is still struggling to get its act together on the issue. Also, a Lagos-based businesswoman, Ms Chioma Okolo, told this newspaper’s correspondent that she recently started carrying cash around after she lost several opportunities to purchase products due to poor network on PoS terminals and her mobile phone. The situation, in fact, led to several lenders sending apology emails to their customers. One of

such emails which was seen by westafricabusinessnews, it reads: “Dear Esteemed customer, we sincerely apologize for the delay you many have experienced in processing transactions on our digital channels.“This is due to a challenge with our national switching service platform designed for facilitating electronic payments. Commenting on the issue, a financial analyst, Mr. Charles Duru, attributed it to banks’ unpreparedness to handle the rising number of Nigerians that have embraced e-payment.He said: “It is true that banks have invested heavily in e-payment channels so that they can provide efficient

electronic banking services. But the fact is that what they have provided is inadequate for the number of customers now using such services. IT is capital intensive and many banks are cutting costs in these hard times.” Corroborating Duru, the Head of IT at a Tier 1 lender, who did not want to be quoted, told this newspaper that while bank CEOs are eager to leverage IT to boost profits, they are usually reluctant to cough out the required funds.The bank official said: “Ensuring that epayment channels can withstand the pressure of the increasing number of users goes beyond acquiring ATMs and PoS terminals. A lot of other critical

It is true that banks have invested heavily in e-payment channels so that they can provide efficient electronic banking services. But the fact is that what they have provided is inadequate for the number of customers now using such services. IT is capital intensive and many banks are cutting costs in these hard times.

infrastructure also has to be in place. It costs a lot of money to get the people with the skills to keep the system functioning for 24 hours.” Indeed, at a press conference organised by NIBSS in March this year, the then Acting Chief Executive Officer at NIBSS, Mr. Niyi Ajao, attributed the surge in failed PoS transactions to a sharp increase in the number of customers who use the e-payment channel. Pointing out that the 285 million transaction volume recorded for PoS terminals last year, was the highest ever for the e-payment platform, he revealed that as part of its efforts to cope with the sharp rise in the transactions, NIBSS embarked on an upgrade of its system, a move, he said, some key stakeholders were not adequately prepared for, thereby resulting in the increase in the number of failed PoS transactions. According to him, following the record high volume of PoS transactions recorded last year, the company (NIBSS) decided to upgrade its system to be able to cope with a further rise in the transactions, given that it planned to double the growth recorded in 2018. Ajao said: “In 2018, we had 285 million POS transactions and that was the highest ever recorded in the country. We



AfDB / Niger sign $128.8m financing pact for Kandadji project BY BONNY AMADI


he Republic of Niger and the African Development Bank on Tuesday signed a $128.8 million financing agreement to support the “Kandadji” project for the regeneration of ecosystems and the develop-ment of the Niger Valley (PA-KRESMIN). The “Kandadji” project implementation will take six years (2019-2025) and involves the completion of a multi-purpose dam that will create a real development hub Nigerien Minister of Planning Aïchatou Kane Boulama, who signed on behalf of Niger’s Government, expressed her gratitude to the Bank and praised the leadership shown by it in the process leading to the “Kandadji” signing. “We would like to acknowledge the Bank’s strong commitment to this very important project for the people of Niger. The signing of this agreement is a step towards its realisation, but also towards the restoration of Niger’s river ecosystem and the development of thousands of hectares of irrigated land of local communities, not only in the Tilabéry region, but all over the country”, said Boulama. The min-ister was accompanied by the deputy minister in charge of the Budget, Ahmat Jidoud. “It’s a 100-year-old dream that is finally becoming reality and we are happy to have contributed,” said Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, African Development Bank Director General for West Africa. She contin-ued, “we stand by you and we shall remain by your side”. The implementation of the “Kandadji” project will take six years (2019-2025) and involves the comple-tion of a multi-pur-

pose dam that will create a real development hub in the region of Tilabéry, one of the most vulnerable regions in Niger, with three million inhabitants. The Bank’s financing includes a $65.1 million loan, a $49.7 million grant from the African Development Fund (ADF) and a $14 million loan from the Transitional Support Facility (TSF). To integrate Africa, bring down the walls,” Adesina urges at 2019 African Development Bank Annual Meetings Open in Malabo

Adesina urged African governments to work toward the elimination of non-tariff barriers MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, June 12, 2019/ -- African leaders on Wednesday underscored the urgent need to fast-track the continent’s regional integration process in order to accelerate Africa’s economic transformation. The call was made at the opening ceremony of the Bank’s 2019 Annual Meetings, in Malabo, Equatori-al Guinea, with the theme: “Regional Integration for

Africa’s Economic Prosperity.” “Apart and divided, Africa is weakened. Together and united, Africa will be unstoppable,” the Bank’s President Akinwumi Adesina told delegates at the packed Sipopo Conference Center. Adesina urged African governments to work toward the elimination of non-tariff barriers. “Pulling down non-tariff barriers alone, will spur trade by at least 53%, and potentially double trade,” he said. The opening ceremony was presided over by the host nation’s

Akinwunmi Adeshina

Xraying challenges of financial transactions faced during holidays Continued from page 10

are expecting that the figure will double in 2019 because 2018’s figure doubled the figure recorded in 2017 and that was why we embarked on an upgrade of our systems. “A system glitch happened in course of trying to upgrade capacity and unfortunately for us, other players in value chain had issues around that period and that compounded the problem. We started noticing the issues around December. The failure rate, which was previously at 13 per cent climbed to around 16 per cent.” He explained that a failed PoS transaction could arise as a result of total Turn-Around-Time (TAT) for a PoS transaction cycle

from the time it was received to the time a response was sent back to the terminal. “This TAT, such as when the timeout had been configured at 15 seconds in agreement with banks and processors. However, delayed responses from Issuers after this timeout in recent times could cause authorized debits not to return to the terminal before the set TAT,” he explained. Shedding light on remedial measures taken by NIBSS to reduce the failure rate, Ajao said there had been adjustment of timeout to 20 seconds from 15 seconds since March 14, while further adjustment to 45 seconds was done on March 19. He said that any issuer with delayed responses beyond 45 seconds

would be disabled with immediate effect to isolate such a bank, adding that the process was ongoing. Besides, he stated: “Implementation of an in-memory database system on the Nigeria Central Switch (NCS) platform on March 18, 2019, to ensure super-fast responses at the center. All systems have been load-balanced for non-stop performance. Processors have been advised to ensure redundancy in their network links for efficient fail-over whenever there is a service failure by any network provider as well as to scale up on infrastructure.” Significantly, Ajao also said all service providers were expected to scale up on infrastructure

because, according to him, the strength of the ecosystem would always be equal to the weakest one. Clearly, however, the frustration felt by many bank customers who tried to use epayment channels last week, shows that the “remedial” measures introduced by NIBSS, have not solved the problem. As a top official in the banking industry argued last weekend, it is the CBN’s responsibility to ensure that it steps up the Shared Services programme, which is aimed at ensuring a drastic reduction in costs for DMBs, especially in the area of critical infrastructure such as power and information technology.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Also in attendance were King Letsie III of Lesotho; President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, Prime Minister of eSwatini. High-level government officials from Rwanda, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Côte d’Ivoire were also present. In his opening speech, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo recalled that Equatorial Guinea, once one of the poorest countries in the world, has since been radically transformed with one of the highest per capita incomes on the continent. “For me, development is not about per capita income, it is about expanding the opportunities for the people to live a more dignified life,” Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said. “Equatorial Guinea is open for business. We are committed to regional integration for shared prosper-ity. We count on the African Development Bank to help us achieve economic diversification and the consolidation of social equality.” Regional integration is one of the Bank’s strategic High 5 agendas to rapidly advance Africa’s economic transformation. In the past several years, the African Development Bank (www. has invested over $13 billion in the central African region. “And for every dollar invested, the region has leveraged $36, an incredi-ble rate of return of 36 times,” Adesina noted. The Bank’s investments include the construction of the Central African fibre optic network that con-nects the population with faster and less expensive access to the Internet, and is boosting businesses and regional integration. In his remarks, Equatorial Guinea’s Finance Minister Cesar Mba Abogo said: “Progress is the realisation of utopia. This is a country of utopia in Africa, with independence and the ability to control our own destiny. It seemed impossible at first in the last century but it was done. Now our utopia is regional integration.” More than 2,000 participants are attending the Annual Meetings, a unique opportunity to share the Bank’s perspectives on the state of Africa’s economy. The meetings also provides updates on the Bank’s work and serves as a platform for the exchange of views on emerging issues shaping the future of the continent. The Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea, the president of the Senate, members of governments, the diplomatic corps as well as the African Development Bank’s Governors, Executive Directors, and other dignitaries attended the opening ceremony.



CBN faults report on floating of Naira BY NIYI JACOBS


igeria’s central bank said it made no change to its naira policies, after a revision on its website led some analysts to speculate that it was ending a system of multiple exchange rates. “Nothing has changed in Nigeria’s exchange-rate structure,” and the naira’s value continues to be de-termined by trading in the Investors’ & Exporters’ FX Window, Isaac Okorafor, a spokesman for the Abuja-based institution, said in a text message. The I&E FX window, also know as the Nafex window, was introduced in 2017 as Nigeria sought to at-tract capital inflows by offering investors a weaker and market-determined naira rate. The central bank pegs an official rate -- meant for government bodies and fuel importers -- at a level about 20% stronger than the market price. The central bank’s homepage on Tuesday stated that the official rate was “market-determined,” whereas it previously gave a value. The website reverted to its original form on Wednesday. The naira was little changed at 360.46 per dollar on the I&E market as of 1:20 p.m.

in London, and was 306.5 on the official market. Bonds rose slightly, with yields on one-year interbank T-bills falling five basis points to 13.93%. Central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, who was re-appointed for a second five-year term last month, says the current system, which includes restrictions on imports, is the best way to diversify Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy and boost manufacturing. The International Monetary Fund has long been critical, saying the absence of a single exchange rate creates confusion and deters foreign investment. On Monday, the Washington-based lender said it was, for the first time in almost 40 years, reviewing how it deals with members that have multiple exchange rates. “By limiting the circumstances in which Fund members may introduce and maintain multiple exchange rates, the multiple-currency practices policy aims to promote orderly exchange arrangements and a stable system of exchange rates,” it said in a statement. Renaissance Capital said in an April note that Nigeria and Venezuela are about the only emerging mar-kets in its coverage that have multiple exchange rates.

Ezekwesili, Shehu Sani, others canvass deepening of democracy


former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, yesterday said there was need for deepening of the country’s democracy, to serve as catalyst for progress. Ezekwesili, also a former Vice President of the World Bank, emphasised the need while speaking at a lecture on June 12 at the home of late MKO Abiola in Ikeja, Lagos State. The lecture was organised by June 12 Movement, a pro-democracy group, to commemorate the June 12 1993 elections. The former minister said democracy should be about the people as well as their welfare. She, however, expressed regrets that the country’s democracy had not fared well to serve interests of the masses in the last 20years. The former World Bank executive said for the country to move in the path of progress, there was a compelling need to begin to do the right things to deepen democracy . ”Democracy, they say, should be a government of the people by the people for the people . ”But have we had that in the past 20 years? No. Democracy has only worked for a few and not the Ni-gerian people. ”The rate of poverty has continued to increase and only recently, the country was labelled the pov-erty capital of the world. ”If democracy must work for the people in this country, there is compelling need for us to have a leadership that reflects the choice of the people and that will respond to their needs,” she said. The former minister said lessons abound for the country’s democracy through the June 12 1993 elec-tions. She said the election was a watershed in the country’s democratic history, as it was a day Nigerians spoke with one voice

to elect MKO Abiola as president. She described late Abiola as a man of the people, saying the country would progress with leaders who cared about the masses. Also speaking , Sen. Shehu Sani reiterated the call to deepen the nation’s democracy. He said the country must embrace restructuring to move in the direction of sustainable development. ”For us to achieve sustainable development in the country, there is need for us to restructure the country. ”We cannot continue to pretend about it. We need to restructure to move this country forward. ”States and LGAs cannot continue to go to Abuja at the end of every month for money, we need to restructure so that the federating units can develop their strengths and contribute more to develop-ment,” he said. He described June 12 as a very important point in the history of the country, as it was the day Nigerians chose a leader they believed in. Sani urged Nigerians to continue to appreciate the sacrifice made by MKO Abiola, the presumed win-ner of the election, saying ”without June 12, there can’t be May 29th.” Sani also urged Nigerians to appreciate the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari for declaring June 12 as Democracy Day after denials by previous governments. Also speaking, Mike Igjni, INEC Resident Electoral Officer (REC) of Akwa Ibom State, said the elite were the beneficiaries of the country’s democracy. He said there was need to deepen democracy to make it work for the common man. ”Democracy today is for elite. They are the major beneficiaries. The common man is not feeling the impact, there is

need to deepen it to serve all Nigerians,” Igini said. He said his experiences as REC in Akwa Ibom in the last elections showed that the country’s democracy was far from being perfect. Igini claimed politicians tried to subvert the will of the people by wanting to write the results of elec-tions instead allowing votes to count. ”But I let them know that you cannot write results where I am, the people ‘s will must prevail,” he said. He expressed regrets that the country’s elections were still characterised by violence, saying that was a threat to democracy. Igini said that late Abiola was a symbol of democracy, as the June 12 election represented what elec-tions should be like.

Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili

... Injects $210m Into Forex Market The interbank segment of the Foreign Exchange Market has received a boost of $210 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) following sales concluded on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Figures obtained from the CBN indicated that authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market were offered the sum of $100million, while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment received the sum of $55 million. The sum of $55 million was allocated to customers requiring foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others. Confirming the figures, the Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor reaf-firmed the Bank’s commitment towards ensuring stability in foreign exchange market. It will be recalled that at the last intervention on Friday, June 7, 2019, the Bank injected the sum of $294.7million and CNY31. 4million into the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) segment.



Buhari plans to empower 100m poor Nigerians



resident Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday promised that his administration would empower over 100 million Nigerians currently trapped in poverty within the next 10 years through rapid transfor-mation of the nation’s economy. The President made the promise in his speech at the maiden June 12 Democracy Day celebration in Abuja. Buhari, who projected that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was expected to grow by 2.7 per cent this year, noted that as of today the external reserves had risen to US$45 billion enough to finance over nine months of current equal commitments. He said: “This administration has laid a foundation of taking bold steps in transforming our country and delivering our people from shackles of poverty. “First we will take steps in integrating the rural economy to national economic grade by extending ac-cess to input to rural farmers as well as credit to rural micro businesses and opening up many critical feeder roads. “Secondly, all small scale enterprises in towns and cities would share facilities cur-

rently available so that we can continue to encourage and support domestic production of basic goods to improve our lives”, the President added. He assured Nigerians that in the next four years his administration would remain totally committed to improving the lives of people by consolidating on current efforts targeted at mitigating the socio-economic challenges Nigerians are facing currently. Reflecting on the achievements recorded by his administration during his first tenure, Buhari pledged that over the next four years his government was committed to assembling a strong team of Nigeri-ans, and allies, to implement its transformative plans and proposals. Specifically, he assured that the people will see significant focus, resource and, where necessary re-form, in tertiary and technical education to reposition Nigeria’s workforce for the modern technologi-cal age. According to him, the government will accelerate investments in primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare programmes, interventions and infrastructure as well as in upgrading of our medical per-sonnel to stem the flight of our best trained people.

On food security, while noting that Nigerian farmers have made great strides in local production of rice, maize, cassava, poultry, fertilizer, fisheries and sesame, the President said his administration re-mained resolute in supporting private sector in emphasizing backward integration and export expan-sion plans. Expatiating on plans to make the environment more friendly and boost agricultural productivity, the President said: “Felling of trees to provide energy for domestic use is taking its toll on our rain forests, our ecology and our climate. Accordingly, we are taking steps to harness cleaner and more sustainable sources of electricity. We export over 2 million tons of cooking gas, yet we consume less than half a million tons. “We will work to address this issue and support rural communities with challenges of safely switching from firewood to cooking gas. “Dedicated agro-industrial processing zones will be developed on a PPP basis to increase farming yields, agricultural productivity and industrial output. Buhari promised further that in the next four years, “over 2,000 kilometers of ongoing Federal road and bridge projects across

NBS to publish Nigeria’s corruption report soon


he National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has hinted that the report of its ongoing national survey on corruption, the second National Household Survey on Quality and Integrity of Public Services in Nige-ria, 2019, would be published in September. A top official of the agency and a Project Director of the Survey, Mr. Isiaka Olarewaju, who disclosed this during a news conference in Abuja, said that field workers had been deployed already and that the exercise would be completed by the end of June. Olarewaju, a Director in Charge of Real Sector and Household Statistics,, who represented the Statisti-cian-General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of the official statistics producing and re-porting agency, Dr. Yemi Kale, explained that the planning of the exercise commenced last year and would be completed by the end of this month. He said:“This survey is a large one. We have since moved away from analogue to electronic, as we talk to you, we are monitoring those on field. We monitor the location of enumerators from the digital ad-dress of sample households. “As soon as the data collection is finished, it will be available within one week, but we need to do data reliability test before releasing the result. On or before September, the result will be made public by the Statistician-General,” he added. Olarewaju disclosed that 20 field officers had been deployed in each state of the federation including the FCT; comprising four teams in each state and a team comprised of one supervisor and four enu-merators. Making further clarification on the importance of the survey, the statistician said that it would allow government and citizens to examine the level of progress made within the last two years by the Presi-dent Buhari-led administration in its anti-graft policy agenda. According to him, the survey will be critical to the provision of key indicators for the monitoring and tracking of anti-corruption

the country will be completed to reduce journey times and the cost of do-ing business. “As I mentioned earlier, critical feeder roads will be built to facilitate easier transportation for people and goods from rural areas to major roads. “We are at advanced stages of securing investments to modernize and expand our transmission and distribution infrastructure, ensuring that electricity is available and affordable for all Nigerians. “Several rail, seaport and airport projects are at various stages of completion. We will open the arteries of transportation nationwide”, the President assured.

Nigeria, india to deepen bilateral ties on economy The Federal Government of Nigeria and India would continue to deepen its bilateral ties in the areas of economy, infrastructure and human capital development, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he received the Indian delegation led by the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, His Excel-lency, Mr. V. Muraleedharan. The Indian delegation was part of the dignitaries that attended the June 12 Democracy Day celebra-tion which held earlier in the day at Eagle Square, Abuja. The Vice President noted that Nigeria can learn a lot from India’s development trajectory over the last decades amidst its huge population. He said, “India is a crucial strategic partner with Nigeria and we have a lot to learn from India, especial-ly as you heard in the President’s speech; on India’s success in a democratic setting, and the results it has achieved in the last few decades, especially with such a huge population. There is absolutely no reason why Nigeria cannot do so (succeed). In order to do so, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel; one of the ways to do that is by closer economic cooperation on so many fronts, including in the area of infrastructure, enhancing the capacity of rail transportation, amongst other areas.” In his remarks, Muraleedharan praised President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that India is Nigeria’s largest trading partner. He added that bilateral trade between both countries had increased about 20% in the last one year. “Nigeria is very important to us (India); the new re-elected governments of both countries would surely strengthen cooperation in the next five years. Ten per cent of our crude requirements come from Nigeria and about 50,000 Indian nationals live and work in Nigeria,” he said

Dr Yemi Kale

activities. Olarewaju explained that the objective of the survey was to collect evidence-based information on forms of corruption affecting the Nigerian citizens on daily basis, determine corruption prevalence and prevailing typologies as well as provide a trend analysis of the indicators that could be used to inform relevant policies and track future progress. In addition, he pointed out that the survey would ensure international comparability with surveys of similar nature carried out in other countries and also provide data for measuring some relevant Sus-tainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators. The Project Director said further that the NBS had constituted a Technical and Steering Committees to support the coordination of the implementation of the survey and that

the National Steering Commit-tee was set up to take ownership of the result of the survey and to give directions on it. The statistician said that members of the committee were drawn from top officials of the Anti-corruption agencies, law enforcement agencies, Code of Conduct Bureau and Departments and Civil Society groups (National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) and relevant ministries, among others. The survey is being carried out by the bureau in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funded by the UK’s Department For International Development (DFID). Commission will update the public on the outcome of the ongoing litigation”, the commission added.

Prof Osinbajo






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frica’s largest democracy, the federal republic of Nigeria rolled out the drums yesterday June 12 to celebrate democracy. The day June 12 which is now a national holiday is actually the day, multibillionaire, and most detribalised Nigerian, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola won Nigeria’s freest election. Like the problem with Nigeria, every endeavour that will positively change the country for the better always ends up in fiasco, MKO never got sworn in. By hook or crook he was denied the mandate the generality of Nigerians gave him. It is in line with the epochal event of June 12, the present administration of President Mohammadu Buhari looking for how to market itself to the public tapped into June 12 by recognising MKO as the rightful winner of that election. He went steps further by naming June 12 democracy day and declaring it a national holiday. As President Buhari declared yesterday in his address at Eagle Square, Abuja at the democracy day celebra-tion, the National Stadium Abuja has been added to the list of edifices named after MKO. The nation’s highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic was conferred on the man who epit-omises, not only democracy but a true story of ‘grass to grace’. The lesson in Abiola’s life was his massive reach across the

country. The north, east, west and south-south as well as minorities voted massively for MKO, a Muslim, because he never engaged people on primordial sentiments. A bridge builder, detribalised, no religious bigotry. He donated money to build churches and mosques and never considered where you are from before helping you or offering you employment in his vast businesses. Apart from Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and General Ibrahim Babangida no other Nigerian living or dead can boast of such acceptance and reach in the country. People write their history while alive. Abiola did and his memory never fades. We therefore urge the nation’s leaders that beyond naming institutions and conferring awards, they should as well, take bold steps at further deepening and entrenching democracy in the country if they really want to immortalise Abiola’s legacy. The nation’s institutions are weak and that accounts for why any government

in power turns those institutions as means of political witch-hunting. No legacy will be better than allowing the three arms of government, the Executive, the Legislature and Judiciary work harmoniously without one arm de-tecting for the other two arms. And that is why we are worried by the massive war chest that went with the election of the principal officers of the 9th National Assembly. An internal affair of the legislators, elected representatives of the people was elevated to a party affair where all subterfuge was employed to whip party members to fall into submission. We don’t want to believe that ‘Ghana must go’ passed hand or that the event was ‘dollarized’. Through ‘Green cards’ or ‘Credit cards’. MKO will ‘turn green in the grave’ to hear that the hallowed chambers of the nation’s Senate will no longer be invaded by thugs who bundled the mace, the symbol of authority of the Senate and made away with it . Till today nobody has been arrested and prosecuted. He will even be happier to hear

that no member of the Senate who allegedly participates in the violation of the Senate chambers will ever be rewarded with a post or elected Deputy Senate President. MKO will be happy that the country he died for will no longer viciously remove the Chief Justice of Ni-geria, the symbol of the third arm of government from office without following the due process as spelt out in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). Abiola will be hap-py to hear that gun-toting men of theDepartment of State Security Services (DSS) will no longer in-vade the national assembly, the symbol of democracy, at will. Abiola will be happy to hear that the Na-tional Broadcasting Commission (NBC) will not wake up any day and shut down a broadcast outfit for allegedly showing social media content on one of their programmes. There are too many noble things the government can do to entrench democracy and make Abiola know that he didn’t die for nothing.



Borno Gov. orders suspension of 42 teachers for absconding from duty G

overnor Babagana Zulum of Borno yesterday recommended the suspension of 42 primary school teachers for allegedly “absconding” from their duty posts for two years in Gamborun Ngala local government area in the state. Umara made this known during the Democracy Day celebration at the Ramat Square in Maiduguri. He said that during his tour of primary schools in Gamborun Ngala, he discovered that 62 teachers were registered in the nominal role whereas, only eleven of them were present. “To my dismay, the head master said he has had only 11 teachers in the school in the last two years. ”This is very obnoxious and I have directed the suspension of the 42 teachers who were not on ground,”he said. He said that he would not condone the culture of absenteeism, indolence, indiscipline and nepotism in the public service, noting that prudent management of public funds, transparency and accountability must

be the guiding principles. Zulum said that proactive modalities would be put in place toward creating institutional framework for basic service delivery, to address the high public

expectations aimed at strengthening the confidence of the people of the system. “We will address the issues of security, poverty, unemployment, quality education, infra-

structure, health services among other things that will positively impact on our lives. All these will invariably depend on good governance in a democracy,”he said.

In his reaction, Jubril Muhammed, the Borno State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), said the teachers’ action was not deliberate act. Muhammed disclosed that teachers in the state usually worked on a two- week shifts agreement. “The first set of teachers were deployed to liberated councils while those that are substituting them every two weeks are working in the Internally Displaced camps of the LGAs in the city of Maiduguri. “It is not possible for all the teachers to be on ground at the same time because of the current challenges. We also lack adequate teachers to carter for the educational services in both the LGAs and IDPs camps at the same time. “Also, most of our teachers have lost everything including their means of livelihood, citing lack of accommodation in the LGAs as another challenge, ”he said. The Chairman urged the governor to temper justice with mercy on his decision.


Mixed reactions trail JAMB’s cut-off mark for admission


ivergent views have continued to trail the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB) 160 cut-off mark the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) admissions process. The candidates spoke in an interviews with newsmen in Bwari. Key stakeholders in tertiary institutions across the country on Tuesday pegged 160 as the minimum bench mark for admission of candidates for the 2019/2020 academic year. The decision was reached at a Joint 19th Policy Meeting on Admissions to tertiary institutions in Nigeria, organised by Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB) which held in Gbongan, Osun State. Flora Chikwe, one of the candidates told NAN that she scored 180 in her UTME and was glad that her score was above the cutoff mark. Chikwe however, expressed concerns in the admission process, saying that some schools would find a way to frustrate admission seekers with their different admission processes. “I feel the mark is okay, at least I scored above 160. “However, I am skeptical about the entire process because apart from the scores, you still have catchment areas and post UTME to worry about because these schools put such into con-

sideration. “In fact, apart from the JAMB cut-off mark, you have to also think about the course you applied for, whether your score is applicable to the course’s cut-off mark. “This also varies from one institution to the other,” she said. Another candidate, Musbau Adamu also accepted the cut-off mark. He however expressed concern with the institutions whom he said, often take a long time processing the admissions. “I pray that this year will be different since JAMB has given its deadline on the admissions process. “I also pray that the institutions will adhere to the N2,000 post UTME fees as prescribed by JAMB. If not, that money really weakens some people who cannot afford a higher cost for the process. “More painful is after paying and you still do not get admitted into the school. We will however remain hopeful though,” he said. Similarly, Ceasar Adams, a teacher, who also agreed with the entire process of admissions by education stakeholders, said the process, if adhered to, would be transparent. According to him, the cut-off mark for all the various institutions is a welcome development as it will give a lot of candidates the

opportunity for admission. He however advised that candidates must note that there was always a cut-off mark for the course they applied for and pray that it favoured them. He said: “For instance, I know that the cut-off mark for science courses like medicine or pharmacy would not be anything less than 200 in most of the universities. “So those in that area who have less than 200 cannot jubilate over the 160 mark but it is our prayer that a higher percentage of candidates are admitted into all institutions this year,” he said.

The tertiary education stakeholders also unanimously agreed to carry out admission registration procedures for institutions of first choice of candidates in all public universities from Aug. 21 to Nov. 16. They also agreed that all state and private universities would peg minimum admission benchmark on 140 and above. The admission registration process for candidate’s institutions of second choice will take place from Nov. 17 to Dec. 17, according to them. They said the minimum UTME score of candidates for

public polytechnics should be 120 and above while that of their private counterparts was pegged at 110 and above. The minimum cut-off mark for the colleges of education was also agreed on 110 and above. The stakeholders also agreed to extend admission registration procedure for private universities to Feb. 15, 2020. The admission process would be guided by the approved institutional/programmes cut-off marks and minimum UTME score as submitted by the respective institutions, JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede had said.

Police confirm abduction of Village Head by gunmen in Katsina


he Police Command in Katsina State has confirmed the abduction of Alhaji Bature Mai’unguwa, the Village Head of Labo in Batsari Local Government Area, by unknown gunmen. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Gambo Isa confirmed the abduction to newsmen yesterday in Katsina. He said that the victim was abducted on Tuesday afternoon while working on his farm at the outskirts of the village, near Rugu

forest. ‘’Operation Puff Adder responded to the distress call, but since it was far inside near Rugu forest, before they could reach, the hoodlums have already fled into the forest. ‘’We are following a lead that may assist us in rescuing him. ‘’The command is calling on communities in the affected areas to always form groups while going to their farms and inform security agents for security backup.

‘’We are reminding people of the state government’s directives on the suspension of farming activities around Rugu forest areas. “Members of the communities are reminded to put security of their lives first before embarking on any activity,’’ he said. The gunmen invaded the village on motorcycles around 1:00 p.m., on Tuesday, shot sporadically to pave way for their operation, abducted the village head, and fled into the forest.



FCT residents urge FG to pay attention to security S

ome residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have called on the Federal Government to improve on security in parts of the country, as Nigerians mark maiden June 12 Democracy Day. June 12 has now replaced May 29 as Democracy Day in Nigeria, after President Muhammadu Buhari had assented to the Public Holidays Act Amendment Bill. The residents made the call in separate interviews with in Abuja. They also called on the Federal Government to also give

attention to security and other sectors such as the economy, infrastructural development and job creation among others. Mrs Agnes Clement, a trader, said that the issue of security in any nation could not be overemphasised, adding that one of the benefits of a secured country is the attraction of foreign investors. She thanked Buhari for his renewed efforts to tackle the issue of insecurity in the country and expressed optimism that Nigeria would overcome the menace. ” I believe that by the grace

of God, Nigeria will surmount the security challenges confronting the country,’’ she said. On his part, Kenneth Ijachi, a civil servant, expressed concern about insecurity in the country, and urged the Federal Government to take proactive steps to ensure that lives and property

were secured. Miss Joyce Okolo, a teacher, expressed optimism that very soon the issue of insecurity in the country would be a thing of the past. On recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day, Ezekiel Bala, a businessman, commended

President Buhari for recognising June 12 as democracy day in Nigeria. According to him, June 12 is a factor that united Nigerians and we should build on it. Bala called on Nigerians to make use of the opportunity to move the nation forward.

Varsity donates relief materials to Batsari IDPs in Katsina


l-Qalam University, Katsina, has donated relief materials worth over N300,000 to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) affected by bandits attacks in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State. Presenting the items to the beneficiaries yesterday in Batsari, the university’s ViceChancellor, Prof. Shehu Ado, said that the gesture was aimed at complementing governments’ efforts at reducing the hardship being faced by the victims. Ado, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr Kabir Kado, described the attacks as senseless and inhuman. ‘‘Al-Qalam university community is equally concerned about the senseless and ungodly killings by these bandits who attack innocent people in Batsari and its environs. ‘‘We decided to extend a helping hand to the survivors of the inhuman acts to reduce their sufferings,’’ he said. He prayed to Almighty Allah to forgive those who died in the attacks and prevent future occurrence. He also prayed for peace to prevail so that the IDPs could go back to their communities and continue with their normal life. Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Salisu Garba, thanked the university for the donation. He emphasised that IDPs in Batsari local government would not forget the gesture shown by the institution at the difficult period of their lives. He said that he received the donation on behalf of communities of Yar’gamji,

Wagini, Kasai, Yasore, Sabongarin Lado and Dan Geza. Some of the items donated included bags of rice, millet, sugar, garri, several cartons of spaghetti, jerry cans of vegetable oil, as well as cartons of detergent and soap. More than 18,000 people were displaced by the bandits in Batsari council.


Police uncover gun fabricating factory in Imo


n its anti- crime efforts, the Imo State Commissioner of Police Rabiu Ladodo said the command has arrested one Eze Ajoku, a 63-year-old man in Agwa, Oguta LGA who specialized in fabricating guns. The CP who disclosed this yesterday , said the suspect was among the 22 other arrested, including a serving police Inspector, for various crimes ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and illegal possession of fire arms. He listed items recovered from the fabricating factory to include one locally made pistol, one 9MM live ammunition, two double barrel pipes and eight single barrelled pipes. The CP said other exhibits were nine riffle engine stock, two live ammunition and expended cartridges, one drilling machine, nine saw blades among others. Ladodo further disclosed that a serving Police Inspector, Salvation Kpun attached to OPS department in Imo was arrested at Works Layout Owerri in

connection with armed robbery. He added that a fleeing member of his gang, also a serving soldier, was being trailed by the

police. The CP warned that there would be no hiding place for criminals in the state, adding that

following the recently launched Operation “Puff Adder” the command was ever ready to combat crime in Imo.

Umahi directs ex-commissioners, SAs to return properties


overnor David Umahi of Ebonyi State yesterday directed his former commissioners and other political appointees to return all government vehicles and properties in their custody. He gave the directive in a statement signed by Austin Udude, Permanent Secretary Designate—Protocol, Government House Abakaliki. The statement listed those affected to include former commissioners, Special Advisers, Special Assistants among others. “The affected officials

are expected to submit the vehicles and other properties at their disposal before today to the Permanent Secretary Designate–Government House. “It should be noted that it is a criminal offence for an appointee to vacate office and still retain government property. “His Excellency the governor has not authorise anybody to keep government’s vehicle or property, therefore, all the affected officials should comply accordingly, ”the statement reads.



Tourism/ Entertainment


Plateau approves new tourism policy By Ebere Chibuzor


fresh vista has been opened for the growth of the tourism sector in Plateau State, as the state government has approved a new tourism policy for the state following a draft that was submitted to it by ex- Commissioner of Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Hospitality, Mrs. Tamwakat Weli. The draft, which has been in the works for months now was finally approved by the then state executive council chaired by Governor Simon Lalong, during its recent meeting. Lalong had tasked the commissioner to change the phase of tourism in the state by coming out with the necessary

policy and guidelines for the development and tourism of tourism in the state. In a reaction to the development, Weli, expressed appreciation and great delight to the state governor for the approval even as she commended members of the Tourism Drafting Committee headed by Mrs. Martha Azi the permanent secretary of the ministry, staff of the ministry and all the stakeholders across board that devoted their time and resources towards the achievement of what she said is a landmark for the state. ‘‘Your unflinching support towards achieving this dream for our beloved State is highly appreciated and commendable,’’

said the commissioner, adding that: ‘‘The Draft Tourism Policy was necessary to enable speedy growth and development of our numerous tourism endowments and potentials for the socio-economic development of our dear Plateau State,’’ she said With this new policy, Plateau State, which is known as the State of Tourism and Peace and was a leading destination in the country, with its Plateau State Tourism Board then under such leadership as Ladi Dakwo, making waves, the state may just be on its way back to the top but this may take a long short depending on how far the state government is willing to muster the right political support and funding for it to succeed.


One year after, COSON extols late Ras Kimono


he Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has continued to hail the contributions of reggae maestro, Ras Kimono, a year after his demise. COSON held a memorial lecture to honour Kimono, who died on June 10, 2018, for his contributions to the development of the Nigerian music industry. Kimono, whose debut album – Under Pressure – led by the single – Rum-Bar Stylé – was a hit in the Nigerian music scene in 1989. The memorial lecture entitled: “Revolutionary Music for Equality and Justice”, was delivered by Prof. Duro Oni, a former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Management Services, University of Lagos. According to Oni, Kimono employed the reggae music genre as a social canvass through which government failures and masses’ suppression and marginalisation were addressed. “There is no denying the power of music as a revolutionary weapon and social commentary. “Kimono is undoubtedly one of the best reggae musicians in Nigeria who used his songs to combat social injustice and inequality. “The content of his lyrics is such that the listener is able to fully appreciate the creativity and imagery associated with the lyrics; hence, facilitating his awareness of what is going on in the society. “His creative ingenuity and digital prowess has left a growing legacy on the sand of time,” the professor said. Oni said that Kimono redefined the reggae music genre and gave it a new meaning, bringing it to international limelight in the 80s through to the 90s. “Kimono was greatly influenced by the hardship and inequality he saw among the people; he despised political corruption and persecution of the masses which was evident in the lyrics of most of his music. “He used his music as a revolutionary medium for disseminating and campaigning against the adverse social, economic and political conditions of the people of Nigeria as well as revealing the forces creating this revolution,” he said. Oni noted that in 2010, Kimono released a song entitled “Kill Apartheid”, when South Africa was at the peak of apartheid. The professor said that Kimono unequivocally condemned aparthied in the song and called on the international community to

abolish apartheid in South Africa. According to Oni, Kimono was committed to the COSON’s cause, and fought against anything that could bring down the association. “He saw in COSON, a watershed institution for the development of the Nigerian creative industry. Kimono effectively contributed to the world with his art, and used music as a tool for revolution. “The king is dead, long live the king,” he said. Oge Kimono, daughter of the late music icon, said at the event that music was a strong tool for speaking against societal ills. Oge, also a reggae artist, described reggae as `conscious mu-

sic’. “With consciousness, there is growth, love, happiness and rest of mind. “I promise to do clean reggae music and lend my voice to the betterment of the society and the world at large. “I am relentless and passionate when it comes to doing music, and I know I got this trait from my late father,” she said. A friend of the late music icon, Tokunbo Amokeodo, said that Ras Kimono was a great gift to humanity. Amokeodo, who said he knew the late musician for 34-years, described him as a humble man and an artiste of international repute.


First Nigeria prom concert, Afroprom, to motivate school leavers


o reward, inspire and promote social network for secondary school leavers, J.Vanni Global, an event producer, has created the first Nigeria Prom Concert tagged Afroprom. The Lead Project Manager, Mobola Abiru, made the disclosure at a media briefing on Tuesday in Lagos. According to her, the Afroprom concert was conceived to give Nigerian students an opportunity to experience prom while celebrating, networking and partying with Nigerians top-rated celebrities. “We created Afroprom concert for high school graduates between the ages of 14 to 18, with an eye of getting these teens to celebrate a remarkable achievement at a crucial age of their lives. “Prom is not new to them, they see it happen everywhere else but not in Nigeria; this spurred us to create an avenue that will welcome them into adult life. “It is also at this age that they should be rewarded for their hardwork, integrated with inspirations and given all the values they will need to grow in life,” she said. Abiru added that renowned mediapreneur, Debola Williams, and superstar musician, politicians and others would be in attendance to inspire and educate the students on the next step after school, by sharing authentic stories of their rise to the top. She said that guests would be treated to breathtaking performances fit by Teni, Rema, Don-

flex and the Extigate team, Dream Catchers and others. According to her, other side attractions would include a shot at Afroprom King and Queen crowns. “There will be motivational speaker to inspire the students and a 3D class for them. “As regards security, the event centre will be adequately protected,

the event time is from 12p.m to 6p.m. and a location will be given to parents that will want to accompany their children. “We have made contact with over 200 schools through social media, and we have ambassadors that are helping out with getting students aware of the event,” she said. She said that the event sched-

uled to hold on July 14 at Eko Convention Centre would be hosted by OAP Jimmy and would reward attendants with enticing giftssuch as an iPhone XR, PlayStation 4 and lots more. She advised interested persons to check for details.

Tourists, artistes throng Lagos Int’l Jazz festival BY Ebere Chibuzor


rom a distance, melodious sounds of Jazz music filled the atmosphere, helping approaching guests to gear up for what was on offer at the venue, Freedom Park in Central Lagos. Visitors lined up at the tickets stand were nodding their head and stamping their feet in tune with the music. On its 11th year of the seven edition, LIJF ran on theme, ‘Music and Creative Arts Are Tools in Addressing Illegal and Irregular Migration Among Nigerian Youths’. Comprising a rich line-up of concerts, lectures, workshops, educational materials and exhibitions, the festival may have a compatible home at Freedom Park. This is the second time that the Jazz festivities have been do-

miciled in Freedom Park, which increasingly emerging as a hub for the Nigerian creative industry. The truth is, Ayoola Sadare, Founder of LIJF, which apparently, has since grown to be biggest event of its kind, prior to establishing LIJF sojourned to South African to witness Cape Town Jazz Festival in 2005, as he thought this might help set the wheels in motion. To perfect this, Shadare arrival at the festival in Cape Town, no doubt became the surest way to spur the vision, such that the first encounter were tourists from United States of America, on the other hand tourists from Europe. In fact, as soon as he set eyes on those personalities and indeed everything about Lagos International jazz festival birth, he hoped was a dream come true.

The festival is held traditionally on April 29, in the wake of UNESCO approved International Jazz Day, which falls every April 30, annually, the activities starts around noon and last till midnight. During the two -day show, part of Marina in Lagos Island experienced hectic traffic snarl as the festival witnessed “who is who” in the jazz world including Samuel Ayunke, Nigeria based in South Africa, SamDerry, Christen Kamaun, a female Jazz trumpeter, Waje, Orliam among others. He discovered that event such as jazz festival had been positively affecting South African tourism and creative industry. To think of that during the period hotels and flights are fully booked, while artisans are being engaged.




Umara pledges to revamp Borno’s economy via agric, others G overnor Babagana Umara of Borno State yesterday pledged to revamp the state’s economy through agriculture and transportation. He made the pledge during the June 12 Democracy Day celebration at the Ramat Square in Maiduguri, stressing that his immediate concern was to ensure quick return of farming in communities. He said “I am committed to ensuring that farmlands in all accessible communities are opened up, adequate farm inputs provided and security given to protect both the farms and farmers. “We must take full advantage of the onset of the rainy season to ensure that our rural populace who depend largely on agriculture for their livelihoods are positively engaged. “I have started talks with development partners and the Central Bank to Nigeria (CBN) to generously assist with the necessary inputs and soft loans and grants to empower our farmers. “Our immediate policy thrust is a quick return to farming, as we remove all impediments and obstacles on the way. “As we all know, Borno State has a unique economically advantageous location as it shares

borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroun and unfettered route even to the Central African Republic.” The governor said he is aware of the huge economic and commercial potential of the state and the enormous benefits that may

accrue to citizens, noting that “I have taken bold steps in the past two weeks to initiate the commencement of construction of Maiduguri- Dikwa-Ngala road and Bama-Banki Road. “In addition, I have directed with immediate effect, the open-

ing of Gwoza–Limankara road and comprehensive maintenance of numerous road networks that greatly adds value to internal trade and commerce in the state. “Let me reassure our displaced brothers and sisters in the various IDPs Camps that we will

honour their genuine request for safe return to their homes as soon as possible. “We will ensure minimum standards, in terms of security, safety assurances and access to basic services and livelihoods, repairs of damaged infrastructure are made before the people return to their respective homes.” He added that necessary measures would be taken to improve the conditions of the IDPs camps, announcing that he planned to visit Niger and Cameroun in the next two weeks to confer with compatriots in the IDPs and work out modalities for their return and resettlement. He recalled that in his inaugural address, he made it clear that there was huge danger in youth unemployment. “I therefore see it as a scandal, depriving young men and women of their careers, diminishing the prospects for teeming young people, wasting our national resources, aborting our chances of societal recovery and creating hopelessness and insecurity. “I planned to commission two vocational training centres for men and women in Maiduguri. I will resuscitate Technical Secondary schools in the state and create Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Schemes to manage the situation.”

Proposed bills: Yaba LCDA urges residents to obey laws


he Chairman, Yaba Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Kayode Omiyale, has urged the people to always obey laws put in place by the management of the LCDA to promote the council area. Omiyale, who was represented by Dr Tunde Adefowokan, Council Manager, Yaba LCDA, made the plea yesterday in Lagos at a public hearing organised by Yaba Legislative Council on its proposed bills. The proposed bills include; street-naming regulation, establishment of Yaba LCDA Environmental Defender Corps, control of expressway, use of pedestrian bridges within Yaba and child right protection. He said that people living within Yaba should not see the laws as means of generating revenues because government wants to improve and protect the lives of the people living within the LCDA. “If everybody living within Yaba area can obey laws given to them, it will really favour us and improve growth and development of the community. “Yaba LCDA has been known as the neatest area in Lagos state when it comes to environment and we want to retain this position. “These by-laws are sent from the federal to state government and finally to local governments, because we are closer to the people in the community. “We all know that a dirty environment can result to diseases, sickness and other health issues; so we must do the necessary

things on cleanliness of our environment,’’ Omiyale said. He also said that concerning the street-naming, anybody who desires to have a street, lane or avenue named after himself or herself should apply formally to Yaba LCDA. “Payment of appropriate fees will also be prescribed by the local government from time to time. It may be on first come, first serve basis. “Also every child have right to get good education and not maltreatment, trafficking or labour within our community. “Our work is to always remind people on what they should be doing right in order to improve our area,’’ Omiyale said. Also speaking, Solomon Gbinigie, Council Leader, Yaba LCDA, said that the end goal of this programme was to make sure everything was right in Yaba community. Gbinigie said that they want to make sure there are no more child labour, dumping of refuse on the major road and crossing the expressway within the community. “We decided to invite all the community leaders within Yaba such as market leaders, because they must be involved in these proposed bills, so that they can pass the message across to their people in the community. “We cannot do it alone; which means everybody within the community has to work together in order to achieve success.

“This is the last stage of the process of the proposed bills. We are here today to amend the necessary things before we send the bills out. `The best you can give a child is education, not early marriage or child labour. We are going to assist and pass the law in order to protect every child in Yaba area,’’ he said. Olakunle Peter, Advocacy and Communications Officer, Terre des Hommes, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), said the main focus was on Child

Rights Protection Bill which would promote the welfare, protection and development of all children. Peter said that every child must be protected irrespective of his their migratory status in the country. “We decided to collaborate with Yaba LCDA with Street Child Care and Welfare Initiatives by supporting the drafting of their bills on child right protection. “It must be reminded that our project aim is to improve the pro-

tection of migrant children along the Abidjan-Lagos corridor, reduce their vulnerability and improve their access to development opportunities. “In order to achieve this, we decided to support the LCDA in all our project locations by creating a protective environment for all children irrespective status, origin, colour, tribe and believe. “Through the Child Rights Protection Bill, it is believed that Yaba LCDA will be taking a giant step in child protection within the community, ‘’ he said.

Firm to train Plateau youths on renewable energy


lue Camel Energy, a firm handling the street lightening project in Jos and environs is to train 10 Plateau State youths on renewable energy, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility to the state. Yusuf Suleiman, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the firm told newsmen yesterday in Jos, that the beneficiaries would be trained at its training Academy domiciled in Kaduna. Suleiman said that the gesture was part of the first phase of his company’s contribution to the development of the state, saying that more youths would benefit from the gesture. He said the trainees would, after graduation automatically be employed by the firm as mainte-

nance agents that would maintain the solar street lights installed in the state. “We don’t intend to bring foreign bodies to maintain the street lights we installed in the state and so we are going to train youths from the state and engage them to maintain the facilities. “The training will be in batches but for now we are starting with 10 beneficiaries. “In Kaduna where our academy is located, we usually train over 100 youths annually and we intend to replicate same gesture in Plateau if giving the enabling environment. “So we are not only in Plateau to work and take but we shall also give by creating employment opportunities for the youth in the

state,” Suleiman said. He said that the state would feel the impact of his firm, as he plans to extend his Corporate Social Responsibility to primary and secondary schools, as well as primary healthcare centres in the state. Suleiman said his firm was contracted to install and maintain solar powered street lights covering over 72 km across major streets in Jos and environs by the state government. He said the project had the advantage of creating more wealth, saying that it would boost tourism and other social activities, improve security of lives and property and would also create employment opportunities.



‘Offa economic summit to aid emergence of new enterpreneurs’


r Raji Ahmed, the Deputy Chairman of the organising committee of Offa Maiden Economic Summit 2019 scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday, has disclosed that the forum will aid the emergence of young entrepreneurs Raji said this at a media briefing in Offa yesterday . The summit with the theme, “Transformation of Offa as an Emerging City – Prospect and Challenges,” is being jointly organised by Offa Club 80 and Offa Desecedants Union(ODU).

Raji said such new breed entrepreneurs were needed to midwife great industrial projects in Offa and its environs. He said the committee had perfected plans to inaugurate Offa Industrial Development Trust Fund Committee during the summit as a way of achieving the desired objective. “Part of the functions of the trust fund committee is to raise fund and manage it in such away that the establishment of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be encouraged.

“This is also going to lead to establishment of an industrial park in the town when enough money has been generated. “Essentially, the summit is to rejuvenate the economy of the ancient town and yield concrete results in terms of emergence of new crops of enterpreneurs. “The summit basically is also to formulate our own domestic economic policy for between five to 10 years rolling plan in terms of

industrialisation,” he said Prof. Adegboyega Olatunji, the President of Offa Club 80, in his remarks, described the summit as a veritable platform for exchange of ideas and building network. According to him, such initiative was needed to transform business concepts into reality. He disclosed that the summit would play host to distinguished personalities such as Dr Sarah

Alade, a retired Central Bank (CBN) Deputy Governor, who would be the lead speaker at the summit. Olatunji said Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as well as Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara were also expected at the summit. The logo for the maiden summit was unveiled at the palace of the Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi, on Sept. 19, 2018.

Farmers group tasks members on export of products


he immediate past Abia State Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Chief Dunlop Okoro has urged the newly inaugurated State Executive to start thinking of Exporting some of its agricultural produce which most States are currently engaged. Okoro who gave the charge in his valedictory speech made after the inauguration of the new executive in Umuahia, on Tuesday , described the successful conduct of the election which had lingered for a long time as a result of several hiccups but expressed confidence that the new executive would ensure to surpass the achievements recorded by the immediate past leadership. “though we may have made some mistakes but one thing remains that we were able to keep the association together as we registered more agricultural produce associations, we have comparative advantages in some produce, so I charge the new executive to think of exporting there produce as currently being done by Anambra State. The newly inaugurated State Chapter of AFAN has Dr. John Babington, State Chairman, Mike- Obi Okezie , Deputy Chairman, Chief O. C Erondu, Vice Chairman, Abia Central, Egele Ikechukwu, Vice Chairman Abia North, Felix Erondu, Vice Chairman Abia South Ndudim Ikerua, Secretary,Hilary Shebbs, Arumba Jacobs Treasurer, Okechukwu Origa, Auditor, among others Inaugurating the new State Committee, the National Vice Chairman ofAFAN for South East Dan Okafor, thanked the out gone executive for their efforts and called on the new executive to carry all farmers

along in their activities. In his speech, the former Special Adviser to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Agriculture and pioneer State Chairman of the Association, Chief Isreal Amanze thanked God that the much awaited AFAN election in the State has been conducted will urged the new executive to work closely with government for the benefit of Abia farmers. In his acceptance speech, Babington dedicated their victory to all farmers in the State and promised to work in the upward growth of AFAN .

Abia begins training for Army, Navy, others on medical emergency By Gospel Adiele, Umuahia.


team of certified instructors from the United States under the American Heart Association’s HeartSaver CPR AED programme, have been engaged by the Abia State government to train selected officers of the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Navy and the police in an emergency medical skillset. Also, to be trained are officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Civil Defense Corps, the Nigeria Prisons, the Abia State Fire Service, and Life guards at several swimming pools. The training organized under the auspices of Abia State Emergency Medical Services and began on June 5 would end today Speaking while flagging off the training programme at the Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu said the training programme is aimed towards assisting accident victims and other emergency cases in the

State. Represented by the deputy governor, Ude Oko pointed out that if the participants should take their training serious, it would go a long way in saving lives which would have been lost due to emergency situations. He disclosed that training has further demonstrated the attachment the administration attaches to the health of its people, “If you look around the political wards in the State you will see a health centre that goes to show the attachment of this government towards the health of his people”. Ikpeazu expressed government determination to support the programme especially on the provision of Ambulances, Logistics and any other requirement that would ensure the success of the training .Earlier in his introductory remarks, the Medical Director of the State, Medical Emergency Services, Dr Chukwuemeka Nwakanma, said the training will cover ,cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR),

automated external defibrillator (AED), Basic Life Saving(BLS) and first aid care. According to Dr Nwakanma, the objective of the training is to deepen the coverage for emergency care in Abia as the beneficiaries are deployed to work in Abia. “The officers will be equipped with specialized skills that will make them capable of rendering quick assistance to victims of accidents, drowning, heart attack and injuries before taking them to hospital. He said the training which is totally funded by Abia State Government will enable the beneficiaries who are mostly federal government employees to carry out their functions as emergency first responders/safety officers with more self-confidence and capabilities. Also speaking, the Chief training Facilitator, Ms Judith Nwakanma disclosed that the training was inline with the America heart Association in saving lives. She challenged the partici-

pants to acquire the training skills in order to train others at their various departments. In 2018, 140 rural and urban health workers from the 17 LGAs were trained and equipped under the American Heart Association for Basic Life Support and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation.





June 12: Threshold in our national life – Atiku F ormer Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said June 12 remained a threshold in Nigeria’s national life and demanded from Nigerians as democrats, to do a soul-searching. He said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that the day was one to ask the salient question of “How better off are Nigerians?” According to Abubakar, June 12 demands something bigger than merely declaring it a Democracy Day. “June 12 is at the soul of our democratic struggle; a threshold in our national life. “The significance of the celebration of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election is a reminder of our history to becoming a democratic country. “On this day 26 years ago, Nigeria voted for democracy against the jackboot notion of oppressive totalitarianism. “The collective decision by Nigerians to elect democracy on that day was not to aggrandise the political elite or to replace military dictatorship with civilian autocracy. No! “The choice of democracy was

to restore power to the people,” he said. According to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate in the last general elections, there is still disrespect for the rule of law and disregard of court orders on issues that border on fundamental human rights. He said that it was not enough to declare June 12 a work-free day when ordinary Nigerians still didn’t have the freedom to find a better life from the grip of poverty. “It is not enough to declare June 12 a work-free day when a disproportionate number of citizens are not sure of where their next meal will come from and when the sanctity of their lives is not guaranteed. “It is not enough to declare June 12 a work-free day when freedom of the press, and of speech, fundamentals of democracy is being assailed.” Abubakar said that as a compatriot who stood shoulder-toshoulder with the icon of the June 12 struggle, late Chief MKO Abiola of blessed memory, he knew first-hand that the choice

Agency provides alternative water supply to Kaduna community


ollowing the contamination of water wells in Mallawa Community in Zaria Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State, the Kaduna Environmental Protection Authority (KEPA) yesterday made arrangements for alternative water supply in the community. Usman Lawal, Director, Public Health and Laboratory Science, KEPA, made this known during a visit to the Chairman, Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State, where four filling stations were alleged to be the cause of the water pollution. According to him, the mandate of KEPA is to ensure environmental protection by safeguarding public health. “The Mallawa community filed a complaint over contamination of well water with oily pollutant. “As an environmental protection agency, our mandate is to safeguard public health and ensure environmental assets are protected,’’ Lawal said. He said that the agency had collected samples from the affected area, which were analysed and confirmed that the water contained petroleum products of hydro carbon which is responsible for many environmental health hazards. “We have taken so many measures to ensure the polluted water is being analysed to determine the chemical constituents of the pollutant and its source. “As a result of that, we jointly conducted investigation with relevant agencies to ensure that the people stopped using the polluted water. “We got the support of the LGA to provide potable water for the community until the investigation is finalised,’’ he said. Umar Ibrahim, the Deputy Chairman of Zaria LGA said: “We

have witnessed the situation and we are providing solutions for the community where its wells and water sources are polluted, possibly by petroleum products’’. He assured the agency that the local government management would ensure that the state water corporation provides the community with tankers of water. Ibrahim also promised that the local government management would fast-track the state government’s efforts in ensuring that every house is connected to pipeborne water. “This is to avoid hazards that can likely arise from the polluted water,’’ he said. He advised the community to be patient and not take the laws into their hands as the present administration is responsive to their health and well-being.

of HOPE as his campaign slogan wasn’t “merely a populist tokenism.” He said that Abiola did not mean to deceive Nigerians with a hope he could not deliver upon. “Today, the minimum requirement for any June 12 convert is to demand of them wherever they may be – either in government or in private lives – to deliver on the

promises they made to the people.” Abubakar said that being a lover of June 12 was to believe in the common good of the people. “June 12 is about the political leadership having the focus to retool the Nigerian economy. “It is about having the skills to create wealth and jobs for the teeming mass of unemployed.

It is not about the inclination for shared pains; it is about shared prosperity. “As we celebrate yet another episode of the June 12 struggle, the desire for hope is more preponderant today much as it was 26 years ago. “So, for all true lovers of democracy, let us keep the hope alive.”


Fun seekers seek improved security, welfare


ome fun seekers in Ibadan yesterday called on governments to find lasting solutions to security challenges to enable Nigeria to maintain peace, unity and progress. They made the call in interviews with NAN in Ibadan while having fun at the Shoprite, Agodi Garden, National Museum of Unity, Ibadan. Olufemi Leigh, who was with his family at the recreation centre, urged governments to enact laws and formulate people-oriented policies to engage more youths positively to discourage crime. He urged that such laws and policies should also discourage exodus of youths from the country. According to him, this will equally boost the image of the

country. Leigh urged governments to let the masses enjoy more dividents of democracy. He advised that setting aside of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day should make Nigeria’s unity stronger. ”The Federal Government should create a hall of fame for the memory of what June 12 stands for alongside its heroes.. “Governments should further fight against corruption in all spheres and introduce holistic marketing boards for price control to fight inflation,” he said. Another fun seeker, Taiwo Olusola, said that declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day was commendable, claiming that the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election was the fairest

and freest in Nigeria. He urged governments to do their possible bests to make elections free and fair to deepen democracy. “INEC should be truly independent, a structure should be put in place to disallow governments’ interference in elections. “Also, there should be prompt prosecution of election offenders,” he said. Mrs Tomilola Alabi, who was with her children, said that improved security would enable Nigeria to achieve much. She called on governments to put the interest of masses first and reduce their sufferings. She said that children and the youth were the future of the nation and should be taken care of through improved education and security.

PDP charges Nigerians on true democracy


he People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has urged Nigerians to use the occasion of the 2019 Democracy day to redouble efforts in the collective quest for the re-entrenchment of true democracy. The party made the call in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan yesterday in Abuja. He tasked citizens to embrace the tenets of rule of law, freedom, tolerance, dialogue, peaceful co-existence, justice and the sanctity of the electoral process. Ologbondiyan congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of the 2019 June 12 Democracy Day. He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address issues of constitutionality, rule of law,

separation of power, justice, fairness, free speech and rights of citizens. According to Ologbondiyan, the party would also want the President to give words of hope to victims of insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and bloodletting

in various parts of the nation. He said that PDP was concerned about the democratic situation in the country which has 766 election petitions from the 2019 general elections. Ologbondiyan said to honour Abiola, cases of electoral

manipulation, violations and injustices must be holistically addressed. He urged Nigerians to continue to support the PDP’s aspiration for the retrieval of its presidential mandate at the tribunal.

Air Force helicopter crash-lands in Katsina


he Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says its helicopter crashed in the process of landing while returning from an anti-banditry combat mission in the Northwest Theatre under Operation HADARAN DAJI. A statement yesterday in Abuja by NAF’s spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said that

details of the cause of the incident, which occurred at the Katsina Airport at about 3.30pm, were still scanty. “However, there was no loss of life, either of persons on board the helicopter or on the ground,” he said. Daramola said that the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique

Abubakar, immediately directed the constitution of a Board of Inquiry to determine the exact cause of the incident. “NAF continues to solicit the understanding and support of the general public as it daily strives to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians,” he said.



Democracy Day

Abiola’s daughter urges FG to tackle insecurity A

daughter of late Chief MKO Abiola, Mrs Lola AbiolaEdewor, yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to do his best to address security challenges in the country. Abiola-Edewor, a former member of the House of Representatives, made the appeal during a ceremony to lay wreath at the tomb of her late father, at his house in Ikeja. The ceremony was part of the programme organised by a pro-democracy group, June 12 Movement, to commemorate the anniversary of the June 12, 1993 election. The late MKO Abiola was the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 election, which was annulled by the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida military regime. Abiola-Edewor said the problem of insecurity in the country was becoming a big issue which needed to be frontally tackled. She expressed the family”s gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the post-humous award given to her father, and for declaring June 12 as Democracy Day. The late politician’s daughter said Buhari had demonstrated uncommon courage for taking the steps. She said that if Buhari could do what previous governments thought could not be done, he could also address insecurity with the right determination. Abiola-Edewor therefore urged the president to take urgent and result-oriented steps to find lasting solutions to the problem of insecurity. ”We thank the president for the honour bestowed on our late father and the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day. ”We are very grateful for this honour done the family and the Nigerian people. ”However, I want to appeal to the president to address the security challenges in the country, as the issue is getting serious. ”If the president could declare June 12 as Democracy Day, de-

spite denials of the past, I believe he can tackle the problem of insecurity in the country, ” she said. Abiola-Edewor also thanked Nigerians of all backgrounds for standing with the family over the years. She described her late father as a lover of the people and a firm believer in democracy. Laying of wreath which was witnessed by the state deputy governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat; renowned political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi; Sen. Shehu Sani, among other dignitaries, was followed by a lecture on June 12. Speaking at the lecture, a former Vice-President of the Nigeria

Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, also commended the president for recognising June 12 and declaring it a public holiday. The labour activist thanked the National Assembly for passing the bill recognising June 12 as Democracy Day. Aremu said the June 12 Act was one of the best laws enacted by the present government, just like the Minimum Wage Act, in terms of impact and reflection of the peoples wish. The labour leader said the enactment of the law was a triumph for democracy. ”The June 12 Act, just like the Minimum Wage Act, is one of the

best laws made by the present government. ”I commend President Buhari and the National Assembly on the law; it is a triumph not only for democracy but also for the Nigerian people,” he said. He described June 12 as a watershed in the country’s history, as it was the day Nigerians shunned all sentiments to vote for a man of their choice. Also speaking, Mohammed Fawehinmi, son of the late human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, said the lessons of June 12 should guide the country’s democracy. He said the country’s democ-


Association commends Buhari for signing LG autonomy law



11 African leaders attend ceremony o fewer than 11 African leaders attended the ceremonies for the maiden celebration of June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria yesterday . Among them were President Idris Deby of Republic of Chad; President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President George Weah of Liberia; President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana. Others were President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe; President Macky Sall of Senegal; President Adama Bar-

racy was still far from where it should be. Leader of the June 12 Movement, Wale Okunniyi, said the programme was organised annually to commemorate the day democracy was truly demonstrated by Nigerians. Prayers were offered for the peaceful repose of Abiola’s soul at the programme.

row of The Gambia and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic as well as the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda, On arrival at Eagle Square, Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari wend round to have a handshake with each of the leaders and representatives of other world leaders represented at the ceremony. Buhari arrived at the venue at 10.05 a.m., watched the parade mounted by members of the Nigeria Armed Forces and Nigeria Police Force before being driven round the arena in an open vehicle.

Other dignitaries at the ceremony included the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and wife, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. The Federal Government marked Democracy Day on June 12 for the first time after the president signed the law to commemorate the 1993 Presidential Election considered to be the freest and most credible poll in Nigeria. The election which the late MKO Abiola won as the candidate of the Social Democratic

Party against Alhaji Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention, was cancelled by the military government led by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. As a mark of honour for Abiola, the president re-named Abuja National Stadium MKO Abiola National Stadium in addition to having posthumously honoured him in 2018 with the highest national award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic. In the past 19 years, the country had marked May 29, which was the date the military handed over power to civilians, had been marked as Democracy Day.

n Non –Governmental Organisation(NGO), Noble Youth Mass Support Association (NYMSA), has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for assenting to the law granting autonomy to Local Governments in the country. Godwin Onmonya, the National Coordinator of the association gave the commendation in an interview with newsmen to commemorate June 12 Democracy Day celebration in the country. According to him, the law will lead to a dynamic and active parliamentary democracy, which he described as “the bedrock for the delivery of dividends of democracy to the Nigerian people. “Local government chairmen will always tell you that the reason they haven’t been able to evacuate overflowing drainage, light up the street and patch the pot-hole, is because they have no money. “All of which has essentially killed the local government as a third tier of government over the years,” he said. Onmonya said issue of joint account of states and local governments has been the bedrock of the debate over local government financial autonomy in the country. He explained that the President’s action was a watershed and a catalyst in the development of democratic principle in the country. “The signing into law of the bill for financial autonomy for local government by President Muhammadu Buhari is commendable. “Local government administrators have long complained that the practice was undemocratic and also prone to abuse by governors. “I firmly believe that mutual respect and trust among the three arms of government will contribute immensely towards the flourishing of our hard-earned democracy,” said. The coordinator thanked the leadership and members of the national and state assemblies for the role they played in seeing to the reality of the law. He also congratulated all the newly inaugurated 9th National Assembly members, urging them to represent their constituencies for the growth of democracy in the country.



Democracy Day Nigerians want Buhari to focus on job creation, economy, security – Survey T he Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa) yesterday said Nigerians want President Mohammadu Buhari to focus on job creation, economy and security in his second tenure. Director, CDD-West Africa, Ms Idayat Hassan said that the group recently released the 2019 Buharimeter Survey report, a survey that shows the achievement of Buhari’s first tenure. Hassan said that the report among other findings identified job creation, economy, security and poverty alleviation as the most important policy priorities that Nigerians want the new administration to address. “Overall, the two broad themes seeking critical attention from public opinion are-the revamping of the country’s economy and improving the state of security. “The past surveys by CDD appraised the performance of Buhari’s administration and track achievements against campaign promises. “However, this latest survey, which marks the 4th in the series of annual perception surveys by

the centre, sought to provide the government with a Citizens’ Road Map of key policy priorities that Nigerians expect the president and his administration to address over the next four years.’’ Hassan said that the survey was conducted on behalf of CDD by Africa Polling Institute (API), and a total of 5,019 citizens above 18 years were interviewed from a nationally representative sample covering the 36 states and the FCT. Hassan said the survey showed that about 52 per cent of Nigerians want improvement on the economy, 37 per cent say they want security while four per cent said they want fight against corruption. She said that the leading and most prevalent security challenge affecting Nigerians is kidnapping, followed by Boko Haram and other insurgencies like cultism, political thuggery, hooliganism and terrorism among others . She said that while most attention is currently focused on insurgency, it is very clear from the findings that Nigerians are besieged by a multifaceted security crisis.

Hassan the survey also sought policy recommendations to tackle those issues from survey respondents and experts in the areas of economy and security. “On the issue of job creation, the top recommendations elicited by survey respondents require the government to pursue a youthsensitive job creation programme, stimulate industrial expansion through both local investments and foreign direct investments. She said that they also want him to take steps to revive companies that closed down during the recent recession. She said that they recommended urgent steps to overhaul the education system in order to make it more responsive to the needs of industry and improve the quantity

and quality of the workforce being pushed into the labour markets every year. Hassan said to tackle the security challenges, experts recommended that government should come up with a clearly defined national security strategy that is both comprehensive and effective in responding to the country’s security challenges. She said that there is need for the president to urgently formulate and implement comprehensive reform of the security and rule of law sectors. She said that this needed to be complemented by Constitutional and administrative reforms that would guarantee citizens’ rights, curb corruption, improve transparency and accountability, and

enhance service delivery. She said that they recommended to the president to establish an intelligence-led security infrastructure with a more responsive security system that involved redeployment of all security personnel into smaller bases. This, she said is so that every area in the regions could be reached within a short time and by using drones to provide 24hours sky level coverage of trouble spots and regions. She said there is also need to develop security teams that would recruit ordinary people in each Local Government Area (LGA)in the regions equipped with an analogue phone, whose charge can last weeks, with pre-programmed numbers to call.

A’ Ibom governor urges peaceful co-existence


overnor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has sued for national cohesion and peaceful co-existence among all Nigerians in general, and the people of the state in particular, to mark the 2019 Democracy Day celebration in the state. Ekerete Udoh, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor announced this in a statement in Uyo on Wednesday. He urged Nigerians to use the occasion to pursue and promote issues that cement the nation’s national cohesion and peaceful co-existence. The statement said the governor also noted the deepening of the nation’s democratic culture since the return to civil rule in 1999. “Our democracy has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 20 years, and Nigeria and Nigerians deserve a pat on the back. “This occasion, therefore, calls for a re-dedication of ourselves to pursuing those ideals that promote national unity and peaceful co- existence,’’ it said. The statement also commended Nigerians for their resilience and contributions to the sustenance of democracy in the last 19 years. There were no activities to mark the inaugural edition of the Democracy Day celebration in Uyo yesterday . President Buhari on Monday signed into law the Public Holidays (Amendment) Bill which accommodated June 12 as Nigeria’s new Democracy Day. Buhari had earlier on June 6, 2018, declared that June 12 would now be the nation’s new

Democracy Day. The date is in commemoration of the annulled presidential election of June 12, 1993 presumed to have been won by the late Chief MKO Abiola. Akwa Ibom was created on Sept. 23, 1987, out of the mainland part of the then Cross River State.


Sanwo-Olu charges elected officers on accountability


overnor. Babajide SanwoOlu of Lagos State yesterday said the philosophy behind June 12 must continually be celebrated by ensuring that elected officers were accountable and every Nigerian treated equally. Sanwo-Olu said this at the maiden June 12 Democracy Day celebration, with theme “Democracy and Restoration of True Federalism in Nigeria”, organised by the State Government in Lagos. Sanwo-Olu represented by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said June 12 would continue to remind Nigerians that free and fair election was possible and that it also showed there was unity in diversity. He, however, said that if the philosophies behind June 12 would be accomplished, it would require thinking differently. He commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for declaring the day a national holiday, saying he exercised statesmanship to correct the nation’s historic record. The Chairman of the occasion, Rtd. Gen. Alani Akinrinade, said the essence of June 12 would be lost, if the people were not made the fulcrum of governance.

He also called for restructuring that would result in having local and state police. “The President should not listen to those who have kicked against restructuring, and look into the political, physical and territorial realignment. “aThose against it are enemies of peace and they will stop us from

joining the rest of the world in the race toward development, human dignity and comfort. “I notice that you are trying to restructure the police, please do it snappy and do not allow it turn to another talk shop. Please commence now because four years is enough to achieve it,” Akinrinade said.

He commended the President for his courage and respect for the voice of the people by posthumously honoring the symbol of June 12. “It looks just like yesterday that an election was adjudged free and fair. It is recognition for all whose loved ones died in the struggle for its actualisation,” he said.

CSOs seek equity, fairness, inclusiveness


etwork of Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (NCSON) has said that the best way to celebrate Democracy Day is to ensure equity, fairness, and inclusiveness in every aspect of life in the country. National Coordinator of the group, Kalu Victor, who made this known in an interview with NAN in Abuja yesterday said that on Democracy Day, Nigerians should be celebrating togetherness and justice. While acknowledging the sacrifices made by the late MKO Abiola in the promotion of democracy in

the country, Victor said that the issue with June 12 Democracy Day should not be perceived a move to appease a particular region. He said rather, it should be viewed as a move in furtherance of peaceful coexistence, unity, and justice for all. “In marking this day, what should be paramount on our minds should be accommodation of all Nigerians in the scheme of things, fairness, equity,” he said. Victor advocated transparency in the conduct of the country’s general elections as exemplified in the 9th National Assembly elec-

tions, saying it was one of the ways to move the country forward. He stressed that, “if the 2019 general election was conducted the way the National Assembly election was conducted on Tuesday, we would not have had the unending court cases and there would have been less or no causality. He said being one of the major tools of democratic governance, a free, fair and credible election would be one of the best ways to go in sustaining the country’s democracy which had spanned 20 uninterrupted years.





Workshop participants urge CBN to change policy on agric loan P articipants at the just concluded sensitization meeting on Communication Strategy for Journalists and other stakeholders have called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the payment duration for agric loans from one to two years. A communique issued yesterday in Kano after the workshop, said farmers needed to be given time to recoup their investment before paying back the loan. The communique which was signed by APPEALS Project Communication Officer, Hajiya Rabi Mustapha Sadiq also called on Government to create policies that will allow for importation of quality seeds into the country. The workshop was organised by Agro-processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) in collaboration with Kano State Agricultural Development Project (ADP). The participants also called for the creation of right market for wheat and other crops to encourage farmers as well as reduce post-harvest and other unnecessary losses. “Effective field days should

be held more frequently to train farmers on Good Agronomic Practices (GAP). “There is also need for establishment of group contact at all levels: group discussions, demonstrations sessions, excursions and tours,” it said. The Communique further stressed the need for more radio programmes on extension services to educate farmers on emerging technologies and methods to boost production. Similarly, the meeting advocated for the utilization of social media in the promotion of agric value chain in addition to encouraging participatory talk shows and other radio programmes. It called for the use of strategic communication to know consumers needs and how to ensure satisfaction towards products consumption. “Media campaign should be encouraged to ensure food security and employment creations. “Media should be considered as stakeholders in the process of agricultural development while target should be identified at the right time and right communication medium should be identified,” it added.

The meeting also called for the domestication of Agric. clinics in areas where targeted groups are located while government should establish an

enabling environment especially by formulating laws that will regulate markets and ensure sales. The meeting agreed that

migration from subsistence to semi-mechanized agriculture will be of great benefit to the nation’s economy and improve livelihood of the populace.


Give ministers targets, CSO tells Buhari


civil society organisation, Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give achievement targets to ministers he would appoint in his new term. The Chairman of PEF, Ezenwa Nwagwu, told journalists in Abuja that adopting that strategy would make the ministers to be on track in achieving development for the nation. Nwagwu said that conversations on what Buhari should prioritise were around economy, anti-corruption and security, but that these were vague compared to real issues on ground. “We need to be able to see that in six months, the 300-kilometre

Abuja-Kaduna road will be safe and if it is not safe, he should hold somebody accountable; that is for defence, for instance. “We should be able to say for health, how many teaching hospitals will be revitalised within a one year and if that does not happen, we have to hold somebody accountable. “This service delivery scorecard is a way of ensuring that there is value for money and that people who are in government do not just feel that they are accountable to the person that appointed them. “This should also mean that they can also be held accountable on the basis of what the citizens know that they are supposed to achieve within a timeframe,” he

said. Nwagwu said that the idea of sending ministerial list without the task that the nominee would perform and when to perform the task is something that should be stopped, going forward. “Yes, the president appoints you, but you are called the minister of the federal republic, meaning that you are ministering to the needs of the citizens of the country.’’ he said. He said that henceforth, citizens should be able to see how many universities were built, funding pattern of tertiary education and the issue of free and compulsory education.

He, therefore, called on the president to ensure that there were more transparency, more openness in governance, and more ability of citizens to hold government accountable. Nwagwu explained such situation was needed by citizens, saying that whether it was a dictatorship or a civil government, once the citizens were absent in the conversations that directly affect them, “it won’t be effective”. He advised citizens to always make demands on the government because the government would not think that it was responsible to them except they made demands.

Refugee Commission empowers 171 IDPs in Gombe



According to Nwagwu, citizens will want to know the number of enrolments in tertiary institutions, that if there are 10,000 or 10 million out-of-school persons, they will want to know what could be done. He urged Buhari to endure strict improvement on infrastructure, saying “the rail lines being built are good but we want to also know the cost. “This is because if you are hearing that it cost these much to do the same rail line in Ghana and in our own country its different, it is because there are no accountability mechanisms where people can also verify issues.’’

n line with its duties, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Person’s (IDPs) has empowered no fewer than 171 IDPs in Gombe State. The grinding machines, water pump for irrigation purpose and block molding machines were distributed to them. Speaking during the presentation of the items, Malam Abba Abdulrahaman, Deputy Director Account of the Commission, said the items were provided to assist the beneficiaries for their day-to-day activities. According to him, all

were provided by the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. Abdulrahaman said that the block molding machines would benefit many of them in terms of building houses and assisting their communities. He advised the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the items and not to sell them. In his remarks, Ibrahim Nalado, Relief and Rehabilitation Officer, Gombe State Emergency Management Agency said the beneficiaries were the poorest among the IDPs, especially the women.

Nalado said 126 women had benefited with grinding machines while 45 others were empowered with water pumping machines. He added that the block molding machines were allocated to Akko, Gombe and Yamaltu/ Deba Local Government Areas because of the high number of IDPs in those areas. Hajiya Abu Danjuma, the state IDPs Women leader tha nked the Commission for the gesture and pledged to make use of the items to alleviate poverty and contribute to the economic development of their communities.




FG renames Abuja Stadium after Abiola P resident Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja announced the renaming of Abuja National Stadium after the late Moshood Abiola, acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election. The president made the announcement while addressing the nation on Democracy Day celebration in Abuja. While alive, Abiola gave immense support to the development of sports in Nigeria and Africa, and was named and honoured as Pillar of Sports in Africa for his contribution. He formed Abiola Babes Football Club, which was based in Abeokuta and was one of the big teams that dominated soccer in the country between 1982 and 2001 when it was disbanded. Buhari decried what he described as “injustice” meted to the winners of the 1993 Presidential Election, and assured that his administration would continue to correct injustices in the soci-

ety. “As we all know, correcting injustice is a pre-requisite for peace and unity. “As part of the process of healing and reconciliation, I approved the recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day and invested late Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Babagana Kingibe with National Honours as I did with the late Gani Fawehinmi. “The purpose was to partially atone for the previous damage done in annulling the Presidential election of that year. “Today, I propose the renaming of the Abuja National Stadium. Henceforth it will be called Moshood Abiola National Stadium,’’ he said. On development of infrastructure, the president revealed that dedicated agro-industrial processing zones would be developed on Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) basis to increase farming yields, agricultural productivity and industrial output.

We’ll bring Abiola’s vision to reality in Ogun – Abiodun


oveernor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has vowed to bring to reality in the state, the vision of the acclaimed winner of the June 12 , 1993 Presidential election, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola. Abiodun stated this yesterday during the June 12 anniversary commemoration and 2019

Democracy Day celebration, held at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta. The governor, represented by his deputy, Mrs Noimot SalakoOyedele, pledged to leave no stone unturned in his bid to bring equal level of socio-economic development to all the parts of the state .

He noted that the state government would create equitable society and enlarge opportunities for individuals and societal development which MKO Abiola stood and died for. “It is important to situate the significance of June 12 presidential election in the proper context. The election was not just an ordinary election. “It was an exercise in which Nigerians cast aside their religious, ethnic and other parochial sentiments to entrust the mantle of leadership of the country to a man who later paid the supreme price. “I urge us all to make the sacrifice of MKO Abiola count as we continue to enthrone good governance for the benefit of the people,” he said. He charged political actors not to lose sight of June 12, 1993, saying that so much labour and

struggle had been invested in order to ensure the attainment and survival of democracy in Nigeria. In his goodwill message, Abdulmumin Abiola, one of the sons of MKO Abiola, noted that the event of June 12 marked the freest and fairest elections held in the country. “Today is a historic day. The actualisation of the long battle and campaigning for justification for June 12 as democracy day has finally come to fruition. “The decision of General Ibrahim Babaginda to annul the election was a surprise to both my family and the Nigerian people in general. “My dad and the general were close friends; it was a surprise to my father. “But I am so proud that Chief MKO Abiola was able to stand for what he believed to be true. It is

important we do this when you find that justice is supposed to be done. “I do not intend to celebrate this day. I intend to reflect on where we are as a nation, where we intend to go and where my children will be. “It is important we understand that Nigeria belongs to all of us,” he said. In his remark, the Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group, Wale Oshun, said that government and people of the state must hold the memory of MKO with a lot of appreciation. He noted that the inheritors of June 12 struggles should work hard and sacrifice to ensure that the country was returned to federalism. Highpoint of the event was a match past by students, trade union associations and voluntary organisations.

PenCom begins sensitisation of youths on pension, others



Don advises FG to stop some raw minerals export


ormer President, Nigerian Metallurgical Society, Prof. Benjamin Adewuyi, has advised the Federal Government to stop the exportation of some precious minerals in their raw form. Adewuyi gave the advice in an interview yesterday in Abuja. He said some of the precious minerals which included Nickel, gold, tin ores had other minerals embedded or hidden in them, adding that this could only be detected when refined. “Some of these minerals are special in nature, they have additional two to three minerals ores in them and this can only be discovered if refined locally before

exporting them. “The foreigners that are buying our minerals in raw forms know what they are gaining, they buy our minerals at cheap rates, take them out, refine and return them back to Nigeria and sell to us at exorbitant rates. “We are selling our raw minerals to them to empower their economy, create job for their youths; which means we are giving away our resources and wealth,” he said. According to him, refining our raw minerals locally before export can be achieved if there is a political will and a vibrant metallurgical sector put in place.

he National Pension Commission (PenCom) has disclosed that it is taking practical measures to educate and expose Nigerian youths on the economics and workings of pension administrations and management in the country. PenCom, in a document obtained in Abuja yesterday said the commission had begun to implement a targeted pension education programmes for Nigerian youths. PenCom said the strategies, designed to inculcate right knowledge of financial inclusion among Nigerian students had resulted in the introduction of pension administration course into Nigerian universities. The commission explained that pension course had since been introduced at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU )Zaria during the 2017/2018 Academic Session . “The commission is also conducting pension literacy programmes by hosting students

of various tertiary institutions on educational visit to the commission. “The commission is also collaborating with other financial regulators on financial literacy for development of financial education curriculum for basic and senior secondary schools in Nigeria. “The commission has also trained 1,300 National Youth Service Corps members (NYSC) in 12 states to educate their peers and primary communities through the national financial inclusion peer group educator programme,’’ it said. PenCom said it was also initiating mentoring programmes in secondary in commemoration of the annual world savings day. The commission explained that it was also utilizing the social media platforms like facebook, twitter and other media programmes on television, radio and the print media to educate youths on financial inclusion and pension.

On current state of Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), the commission said 8.46 million contributors had been registered as at March, while the total pension assets grew to N9.03 trillion same month. It said 280,454 retirees were currently receiving pensions as and when due under the CPS as at March. On Programmed Withdrawal, (PW) the commission said 214,538 retirees received N559.48 billion as lump sum and N9.14 billion as average monthly pensions . On annuity, PenCom said 65,916 retirees were paid N86.60 billion as lump sum and N353.69 billion as premium . This, it said provided an average monthly pension of N3.52 billion It said N173.86 billion was paid as death benefits to the beneficiaries and administrators of 55,820 deceased contributors as at March




Former world boxing champion Joshua is finished, says Fury A

nthony Joshua is finished as a boxer after losing his world heavyweight titles to Andy Ruiz Jr, fellow-Briton Tyson, Fury said. Fury, also a previous IBF, WBA and IBO champion, fights German underdog Tom Schwarz in a non-title bout in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The big Briton said Joshua had shown against Ruiz that he did not want to be in the ring. “When a man doesn’t want to be there once, he will always do it and it’s hard to come back from,” the self-styled ‘Gypsy King’ said yesterday. “It’s been done many different times by many different fighters. He did it that night and I don’t think he will come back from it. Finished. Ask any top trainer who has been around the sport a lifetime. “When he got to the ring I saw he didn’t want to be there.”

Mexican-American Ruiz stopped 29-year-old Joshua in seven rounds at New York’s Madison Square Garden in a major upset on June 1. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has said there will be a rematch, probably in November or December, with the venue to be decided. Fury is also scheduled for a rematch with WBC champion Deontay Wilder, with a date to be set. The Briton, whose fight with Schwarz is the first of a multi-fight broadcast deal agreed with ESPN in February, is the only boxer Wilder has faced and not defeated. That was after the pair battled to a draw in December in Los Angeles. Frank Warren, Fury’s British promoter, said in January that his man was bigger box-office than Joshua. “Everybody thought that man

Amputee footballers laud Foundation’s partnership for championship A mputee footballers have applauded Yagazie Foundation for its determination to be engaged in the activities for the 5th Cup of Africa Nations Amputee Football (CANAF) in September. Ugochukwu Obieze, Athletes’ Representative of Nigeria Amputee Footballers Players Association (NAFPA), expressed their gratitude yesterday in Lagos in an interview with reporters. He said that the support from the foundation was a positive development for footballers and coaches who had trained consistently to excel in competitions. Obieze disclosed that the pre-National Amputee Football Championship ahead of CANAF, supported by the foundation would hold on June 14 at Kaza Pitch of the National Stadium, Lagos, adding that it would involve four teams. “Our coaches have been living up to their responsibilities on us, encouraging us just to keep our faith alive but no competition to display efforts because individuals and corporate bodies are not forthcoming. “‘Until now that we have this encounter with Yagazie Foundation which promised and responded promptly to our need which is reality of this upcoming competition on Friday. The foundation has done well,’’ he said. Victor Nwaewe, coach of the amputee footballers, told NAN that the partnership and support of the foundation came at the right time when footballers were preparing for a continental tournament. Nwaewe said the development had brought a great relief to footballers and they were eager to exhibit their skills, noting

that the competition was necessary to fortify the footballers. “The National Amputee Championships for the selection of footballers that will make the national team for CANAF is coming up next week so this event will put them in good shape. “What the foundation did has brought inspiration and encouragement to the amputee footballers and we are very grateful for their assistance,’’ he said. The Nigeria Amputee Football Federation (NAFF) will organise a National Championship to kick start preparations for the 5th CANAF tournament holding in Angola in September.


could beat me,” Fury said of Joshua. “In what world could he ever beat me? What were people seeing? “Physically Joshua could outtrain everyone,” he added. “He would break every heart moni-

tor, has probably worn out every treadmill in the gym, smashes the bag, (but) it’s all very unimportant. “The two best conditioned fighters in the last 20 years have been (Ukrainian Wladimir) Klitsch-

ko and Joshua and they both got done by two fat men.” Fury, now 30, beat Klitschko in 2015 for the titles he then lost due to a two-and-a-half year absence from the sport following mental health issues and a failed drug test.


Amuneke unveils 23-man Tanzania squad for AFCON 2019


anzania head coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, has unveiled his final 23-man squad for the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations coming up in Egypt. Headlining the list released by the Nigeria tactician is Genk forward, Mbwana Samatta, Farid Mussa of Tenerife in Spain and

Erasto Nyoni of Simba Sporting Club. Other notable inclusions are Simba Sporting Club keeper, Aishi Manula, Simon Msuva of Difaä El Jadid, Morocco and John Bocco who plays for Simba Sporting Club. The Taifa Stars are drawn in Group C alongside Kenya, Algeria

and Senegal. The East Africans will open their AFCON 2019 campaign against the Terenga Lions of Senegal on June 23. The team has lined up two international friendly games in preparation for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. They will lock horns with the tournament’s host nation, Egypt on Thursday before trying Zimbabwe for size on Saturday. Full Squad: Goalkeepers: Aishi Manula (Simba SC),Metacha Mhata (Mbao FC) and Aron Kalambo (TZ Prisons). Defenders: Hassan Ramadan (Nkana FC), Vincent Phillipo (Mbao FC), Gadiel Michael (Young Africans), Ally Mtoni (Lipuli FC), Mohammed Hussein (Simba SC), Kelvin Yondani (Young Africans), Erasto Nyoni (Simba SC) and Agrey Moris (Azam FC) Midfielders: Feisal Salum (Young Africans), Himid Mao (Petrojet FC), Mudathir Yahya (Azam FC), Frank Domayo (Azam FC), Farid Mussa (Tenerife) and Yahya Zayd (Ismailia). Forwards: Rashid Mandawa (BDF), Mbwana Samatta (Genk), Thomas Ulimwengu (JS Saoura), John Bocco (Simba SC), Abdillanie Mussa (Blackpool) and Simon Msuva (Difaä El Jadid).




Authors want Nigerians to revive reading culture A

call has been made by the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) on Nigerians to revive the nation’s dwindling reading culture to eliminate illiteracy, keep history afresh and be in tune with developments in the global scene. Abubakar Daddere, Chair-

man, Nasarawa State chapter of the body, gave the advice yesterday in Lafia. Daddere, in a paper titled “Why we must develop a strong reading culture in Nasarawa State”, delivered to mark the 26th Anniversary of June 12, urged youths to read more so as

to keep history for posterity. The event was organised by Haliru-Barau Habib, a writer, in collaboration with ANA, Nasarawa State chapter. According to him, the books a people read determine their overall culture, development and growth.

“The dwindling reading culture in Nasarawa State today is increasingly worrisome; people are more interested in watching television, browsing the web, among other forms of entertainment,” he said. Mr Daddere called on parents to create workable ideology for their children that would curtail the dwindling reading culture, urging them to build book shelves in their homes and stock same with books instead of home movies, computer videos games, among others. The ANA chairman appealed to schools to establish reading clubs and also display exciting

and attracting books in the libraries’ shelves to stimulate reading interest among students. In his remarks, Habib said that the occasion was organised to revisit history in order to educate the society about what played out on June 12, 1993. Barau commended Buhari for signing June 12 into law to be recognised as Democracy day in Nigeria, saying that the move had pacified the family of late MKO Abiola and the entire Yoruba nation. The event featured drama, presentation of short stories and poems by Corps members and secondary schools students.

Youth network sets agenda for Buhari’s second tenure



Kebbi spends N5bn on agric loans to farmers –Bagudu


disclosure has come from the Kebbi State Government that he spent N5 billion on commercial agricultural loans for the benefit of its farmers as part of dividends of democracy from 2015 to date. The state Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu made this known on Wednesday, on the occasion to commemorate democracy day in Birnin Kebbi. “As a major rice producing state in Nigeria, Kebbi introduced commercial agricultural loans for the benefit of its farmers to the tune of N5 billion,” he said. Bagudu added that the government paid to IFAD a counterpart fund of N40 million to support 97 farmers in the areas of rice, sorghum and cowpea production, reflected as loans and grants. “In a similar vein, the state government purchased 100 sets of tractors along with threshers, rice rippers and power tillers to enhance agricultural mechanisation,” he said. The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Samaila Yombe, said about 450,000 jobs were created and more than 40,000 multimillionaires were produced as a result of the efforts of the state government through its agricultural enhancement policy. “We have advanced loans to many farming groups such as fish farmers, mongers and petty traders,” he said. According to him, over N5 billion is expended as a buy back

from the state farmers from 2015 to 2016. “In order to encourage rice and wheat farming in the state, the state government had purchased N5 billion worth of rice and wheat as a buy back from the state farmers in 2015 and 2016 farming season alone. ” The scheme has been sustained over the years,” he said. The governor said significant progress had been recorded in the

areas of educational attainment, health care delivery, infrastructural development, power distribution, security network, environmental sanitation, among others. “This day is indeed memorable in the history of democracy at both federal and state levels. ” What we are celebrating today is part of the history of democratisation in Nigeria, which has its basis in the annulment of the June 12 election,” he said.

s Nigeria celebrated Democracy Day yesterday and the second tenure of President Muhummadu Buhariled administration, the Intellectual Young Leaders Network (IYLN) has set agenda that would move the country forward. Akinola Adams, the National Chairman of IYLN, who stated this in a statement in Abuja yesterday, urged the President to allocates more money to the education, technology and women development sectors. According to him, Agriculture, Science and technology can be used to create more employment for the youths, adding that there should be proper implementation of bills against financial corruption. Adams also tasked the President to implement Act. 21 of 2007, which is to establish a Council of Public Procurement. “I want to plead with President Muhammadu Buhari to do everything possible to allocate more money to the education, technology and women development sectors.

“Therefore, the proper implementation of some bills and Acts against financial corruption is necessary to make sure that it has come to stay. “Proper Implementation of Act. 21 of 2007 to have the Council of Public Procurement in place that can oversee the affairs of public procurement. “A white paper that only the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria (CIPSMN) is the only Nigeria Institute to train and certified all incoming professionals. “To handle government procurement and also to make sure that Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) is a watch dog for governments Procurement Practitioners and contractors.” The national chairman, however, advised the National Assembly to work in the spirit of sportsmanship for the interest of the country. The group congratulated all the political office holders, noting that those below 55 years of age are automatic members of the IYLN.

Cleric advises Nigerians to celebrate June 12 with prayers


he General Overseer of the Christ Apostolic Church, Christopher Owolabi, yesterday called on Nigerians to celebrate June 12 with prayers to end the socio-economic and security challenges plaguing the country. Owolabi, who is the overseer of the church at Ori-Oke, Irapada in Omu-Aran, made the call at a special prayer session, tagged: “Ensuring National Unity, Peace and Tranquility” in Omu-Aran, Kwara State. According to him, June 12 in the history of the country symbolises the unity, tolerance and peaceful co-existence, championed by Nigeria’s founding fathers. Owolabi said there was urgent

need to seek God’s intervention, in spite of the spirited efforts by government and other stakeholders to curb killings, insurgency, armed robbery and other vices. According to him, we cannot rule out God’s intervention no matter the wisdom, energy and financial commitment toward curbing the problems. “June 12 is a day that calls for prayers and sober reflection in fine-tuning a new direction for the nation’s survival.” The cleric said the workload of ruling Nigeria was becoming enormous for the government to shoulder, hence the need for support by citizens through prayers to achieve results.

He commended the current administration for exhibiting needed political will to ensure that June 12 assumed its rightful place in the nation’s history. The cleric said also that accidents had become a major concern on major highways with the attendant loss of lives, needing urgent attention by government. According to him, it is one thing to channel resources toward tackling challenges and another for the effort to yield desired results. “This prayer should be prioritised by Nigerians, irrespective of their religion, tribe, culture or political affiliations in our respective domains.”

Quoting from the holy Bible to buttress his argument, Owolabi said: “Gather together the elders, children, sucklings and newlyweds. “Let all in genuine repentance rend our hearts and not our garments, confess our sins as individuals and as a nation.’’ According to him, when Nigerians get it right, the desired unity and socio-economic transformation envisioned for the country will be actualized. He also told Nigerian politicians to close ranks, irrespective of their political backgrounds, saying that the interest of the country should be topmost priority for them.




Tinubu congratulates Lawan, Gbajabiamila, urges closer ties with executive


he All Progressives Congress National Leader, Bola Tinubu, yesterday urged the new 9th National Assembly to extend hands of fellowship and friendship to the Executive to achieve progress in the country. Tinubu made the call in a congratulatory message entitled: “Nurturing and Deepening National Assembly Institution, Democracy,” released by his media adviser, Tunde Rahman, in Lagos. He also urged the assembly to do all within their powers to nurture and deepen the institutions of the Legislature and the country’s promising democracy. According to him, their task is to complement and support President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver on his administration’s progressive agenda to take the country to the Next Level with detailed, timely and progressive legislative initiatives. “It is imperative that the new leadership quickly departs from the adversarial posture of those that came before and extends hands of fellowship and friendship

to the Executive. “A convivial and cooperative relationship between the legislative and executive arms of government is our best chance at achieving the progress that we, as Nigerians, deserve and it’s incumbent on our new leaders to make this a reality in this next dispensation. “Our system speaks of complementarity between the Executive and Legislature and does not preclude the Legislature from working harmoniously with the Executive in the service of our people, ” he said. Tinubu congratulated Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, and their deputies, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege and Alhaji Ahmed Idris Wase, on their election as presiding officers of the 9th National Assembly. “To have been selected by such overwhelming majorities by their peers is a wonderful honour and a clear demonstration of the implicit confidence reposed in them as leaders and legislators. “The offices these leaders

have been entrusted with are sacred and must not be toyed with. “Their emergence as leaders of the 9th National Assembly comes at a crucial time in our nation’s history. As we celebrate 20 years of uninterrupted democracy and our new National Democracy Day of June 12. “We look backwards to recognise the sacrifices and valour of our heroes past. We also look forward with hope for the future of our nation and our democracy,

“he said. Tinubu said that the election of the assembly leaders was free, fair and transparent, saying that it is a further demonstration that the nation’s democracy is functioning well. He said that their election also reaffirms party supremacy as the leaders were also the choice of the governing APC and the party’s caucus in the National Assembly. The APC leader also congratulated those who contested the

various positions but did not win at present for putting up a gallant fight. “However, the time has now come to put aside all differences and rally round the new officers to work together. “I wish the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker and all their colleagues in the National Assembly a successful and impactful tenure and once again congratulations,” Tinubu said.

Council releases N11bn to 36 auto firms Continued from page 1

order to boost the sector. Masari said the plan to establish the mechanic village in Katsina state would reduce the level of unemployment and boost the level of development in the state. He said there was need for the government to strictly implement the auto policy to enable the country save about 8 billion dollars spent annually on vehicles and spare parts importation. “We all appreciate the role of transportation in the economy because it is the backbone of the economy that have enough potential. “The problem we have in the sector is that things are not done in an organised manner. ” If there is regulation, I think a lot of money will be saved. Nigeria is the only country where you can bring in a 50 years old car and will even be plying the roads. ” The slightest problem is to cause loss of lives, because the vehicles are tired vehicles,” he said. According to him, the law on importation of vehicles that states all imported vehicles must enter the country through the port will go a long way to addressing the issue of over used vehicles. He advised that there was need for mechanics to have basic education as such would go a long way to addressing lots of problems. Masari promised to assist the council on the planned project on mechanic village in the state. He commended the Federal Government for working with the Central Bank of Nigeria

(CBN) in its effort to boost local production of vehicles and spare parts “Commercial banks are for profit making, so CBN is the best option,” Masari said.


Buhari promises better deal for Nigerians Continued from page 1

to better themselves in a safe environment,’’ he said. The President, therefore, assured Nigerians that the focus during his second term in office would be to consolidate on the achievements of the past four years. He also promised to correct the lapses inevitable in all human endeavours, tackle the new challenges before the country, and chart a bold plan for transforming Niger He further assured that his administration will crack down on those who incite ordinary innocent people to violence and social unrest. He also warned those with corrupt tendencies to have a change of heart or be dealt with according to the provisions of the law. According to him, the Federal Government will not tolerate actions by any individual or groups of individuals who seek to attack nation’s way of life. President Buhari pledged to abide by his oath of office, reassuring that he would continue to work hard to improve the quality of life of all citizens irrespective of their socio-political affiliations. He said “Nation building takes time. But we must take solace in the knowledge that this country, our country, has everything we require to make Nigeria prosper. “In my first term, we put Nigeria back on its feet. We are working again despite a difficult environment in oil on which we depend too much for our exports. “We encountered huge resistance

from vested interests who do not want CHANGE, But CHANGE has come, we now must move to the NEXT LEVEL. “By the Grace of God, I intend to keep the oath I have made today and to serve as President for all Nigerians.’’ The president said greater investments would be made by his administration in rural communities to uplift the standard of living of rural dwellers. He said further that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government can move 100million Nigerians out of poverty within 10 years. He said data bases of poor and vulnerable Nigerians as well as that of unemployed youths were being developed by the Federal Government to address the problem of socio-economic inequality in the society. “In the face of these challenges, our Government elected by the people in 2015 and re-elected in March has been mapping out policies, measures and laws to maintain our unity and at the same time lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and onto the road to prosperity. “This task is by no means unattainable. China has done it. India has done it. Indonesia has done it. Nigeria can do it. These are all countries characterized by huge burdens of population. “China and Indonesia succeeded under authoritarian regimes. India succeeded in a democratic setting. We can do it. “With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.” Buhari, who pledged to move the

nation to the next level of prosperity, peace and stability, reassured that his administration would fulfill its promise of securing the country, improve the economy and fight corruption to a standstill. “At the heart of inequality and insecurity, is pervasive corruption. When we took office we realised that if you fight corruption, corruption will fight back– and we have seen this at all levels. “For Nigeria to progress, a collective resolution to address corruption and foster broad-based prosperity is required to create a country that is not only for a few privileged, but for all Nigerians,’’ he said. The president, who spoke extensively on the menace of social unrest occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram and kidnappers across the country, said he would be addressing regional security summit to develop a joint strategies to address the security challenges. He also announced the re-naming of the Abuja National Stadium to MKO Abiola National Stadium. According to him, for Nigeria to progress, a collective resolution to address corruption and foster broadbased prosperity is required to create a country that is not only for a few privileged, but for all Nigerians. “This charge is not only to Civil Servants, Ministers, Legislators and State Government functionaries, but also to corporate leaders. “We shall make greater investments in our rural economies. We shall aggressively source locally our raw materials. “For the next four years, we will

remain committed to improving the lives of people by consolidating efforts to address these key issues as well as emerging challenges of climate change, resettling displaced communities and dealing decisively with the new flashes of insecurity across the country, and the impacts on food scarcity and regional stability”, he added “We are not daunted by the enormity of the tasks ahead. “Instead, we are revived by this new mandate to work collaboratively with state and local governments, legislators, the diplomatic corps, and all Nigerians to rebuild and reposition our country as the heartbeat and reference point for our continent,’’ he stated. Buhari said that in spite of the enormous resources pledged to infrastructure development in the past four years, there was the urgent need to modernise the roads and bridges, electricity grid, ports, and rail systems. “Despite the enormous resources pledged to infrastructure development these past four years, there remains the urgent need to modernise our roads and bridges, electricity grid, ports, and rail systems. “Whilst agriculture and industrial output have recovered since the recession, we are more committed than ever to work with the private sector to improve productivity and accelerate economic growth. “The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, which is the gauge of manufacturing activity in the country, has also risen for 26 consecutive months since March 2017, indicating continuous growth and expansion in our manufacturing sector,’’ he said.


31 Custom agents decry high freight charges in Kano THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2019


Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.)

‘Zamfara to hold monarchs responsible for extra judicial killings by vigilantes’


overnor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, yesterday said that the state government would hold traditional rulers responsible for any extra judicial killing committed by local vigilantes in their domain. The governor, who issued the warning in Gusau during the Democracy Day celebration, said that the government would no longer condone the atrocities of the local vigilantes, popularly known as ‘Yan Sakai’. The governor also extended an olive branch to bandits terrorising the state, saying that the govern-ment was ready to rehabilitate any of them willing to repent. “I also use this opportunity to, again, call on all those who decided to toe the path of crime, to surren-der and embrace peace and legal means of livelihood. “We are ready to rehabilitate

those who accept peace and reintegrate them into the larger society”, he said. Mattawalle said fighting banditry and other crimes, which had been bothering the state for many years, is the topmost priority of his administration. “In the last one week, I have discussed extensively with President Muhammadu Buhari and other rel-evant security stakeholders on the challenge at hand. “Part of the outcome of the visit was the directive by the President to deploy two additional mobile police squadrons to the state”, he said. Mattawalle described the Democracy Day as a time to reflect on how the country have fared over the years and renew determination for the task ahead. The governor also paid tributes to heroes of the democratic struggles who made it possible for the country to live in a free

society governed by democratic principles. “One of the doyens of the struggles for our modern day democracy is Chief MKO Abiola, on whose honour Nigeria’s Democracy Day was changed from May 29 to June 12. “The event of June 12 and the subsequent struggles for reversion to civilian rule were the precursors to today’s democracy”, he said. He assured that his administration would initiate programmes to fight poverty through multi-dimensional approach including revamping agriculture, resuscitating skills acquisition programs, im-proving salaries and welfare packages for workers. The governor added that his government would create conducive environment for small and medium scale businesses in the state to thrive.

mbittered Kano State chapter Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kazeem Akande, has lamented that high freight charges by cargo airlines operators in Kano is discour-aging exports. Akande told reporters yesterday in Abuja that the charges contributed to the low export of agricul-tural products in Kano and the country. “When you look at the airfreight charges in Kano, it’s so high compared to that of the sea. “It is no secret that when you talk about business, everyone looks at the profit margin he or she is go-ing to make. “Exporters find it cheaper using the sea; and I think that is one of the main reasons why they have de-cided not to use the airlines. “Sometimes, some of the exporters trying to export by air even prefer shipping their exports through Lagos, because airfreight charges in Kano are way more expensive than that of

PDP governors congratulate new NASS leadership


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, has congratulated the newly elected leader-ship of the ninth National Assembly, inaugurated on Tuesday. The Chairman of the Forum and Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State gave the congratulatory message in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Daniel Alabrah, yesterday in Abuja. Dickson urged the new NASS leadership to guarantee the independence of the legislature in accord-ance with democratic ethos, as well ensure that the rights of Nigerians were defended and

Yoruba group canvasses better security in S’West


pan-Yoruba social-cultural group,Yoruba Koya Leadership and Training Foundation, has urged President Muham-madu Buhari and the SouthWest governors to redouble efforts at ending insecurity in the region. The group, in a June 12 “O To Ge Rally” (Enough is Enough Rally) tagged: “Safety and Security in Yoruba Land”, held in Lagos to commemorate June 12 as the Nigeria’s Democracy Day on Wednesday, demanded security of lives and prop-erty. According to them, there is need to end incessant kidnapping, killings and destruction of farmlands by suspected herdsmen in Yorubaland. Speaking at the rally, Otunba

Deji Osibogun, the National Convener of the group, noted the Federal Government as well as the SouthWest governors must rise up to security challenges facing the region. Osibogun, who noted that the rally was not to declare Oodua or Yoruba Republic as being insinuated, said it was to make government accountable to the needs of the masses, especially in terms of security. He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to redouble efforts at clamping down on activities of killer herdsmen, saying that the next level mantra of the Federal Government should focus on safety and security as well as accountability. “It is enough; this suffering is too much. Our political class should not wait until Nigerians bite back. Security is our right.

“Let there be employment opportunities for our youths to prevent them from taking to crimes. Don’t let the hood-lums kill us all, give us security,” he said. The Yoruba activist noted that hoodlums parading themselves as herdsmen had allegedly overran Yorubaland and tormenting farmers. He called for licences for commercial motorcycle riders and hawkers, especially for non-indigenes to enhance security and proper monitoring. Osibogun decried a situation where government was not talking to the people and the people not talking to govern-ment on security. “It is time for government to sit down and dialogue with the people on security. We are concerned,” he said. The convener frowned at al-

Lagos,” he said. Akande explained that there are only two cargo flights that operate through the Kano airport; the Turkish and the Ethiopian cargo airlines. He added that there are some routes which the two airlines do not operate. This has made some exporters to deal with various shipping lines like the Maxline, CMECGM, PIL, and MAC. Akande, however, called for more cargo airlines in the country in order to make airfreight more com-petitive. He added that efforts were being made in partnership with the National Shippers Council on ways to get cargo airlines in Kano to reduce their charges. “We need to find a way out; by talking to the airlines operators to bring down their charges on exports. “By reducing the charges, they will have more clients that will export through Kano,“ he said.

leged clampdown on some Yoruba activists in Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti who planned same rallies in their respective states and called for their immediate release. He urged the people to ask questions about how public funds were being used, saying that the inability of South-West governors to secure major highways called for questions. Also, Maxwell Adeleye said: “There is a no democracy without security. Government should please show more care as people are dying. When security fails, the government fails. “We call on the government of Nigeria, Police and DSS and others to be more responsible and take security of lives and property more seriously. This rally is to appeal to government to be responsible.

well pro-tected. The Senate on Tuesday elected Ahmed Lawan as its President and Ovie Omo-Agege as Deputy Senate President, while Femi Gbajabiamila was elected as Speaker of House of Representatives and Ahmed Wase as Deputy Speaker. Dickson said that what transpired in the National Assembly on Tuesday was democracy in action, urg-ing them to be conscious of the fact that they emerged at a trying time in the nation’s democracy. He said the principal officers assumed these high positions at a trying time in the nation’s democracy, saying this reality must not be lost on them. “On behalf of the PDP governors, I congratulate the new leadership of the National Assembly. “I urge them to strive to defend the independence of the legislature and to protect the rights of Nige-rians. “If the independence of the legislature is lost, then our democracy would have lost all meaning. “The legislators should seek to protect both chambers as well as the rights of Nigerians. “They have the responsibility to protect the Nigerian people against all forms of arbitrariness and abuses,” he said. He urged the NASS leadership to further ensure the stability and unity of the country, while working hard to deepen its democracy.

THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2019 Vol. 06 No. 363


President Buhari’s Democracy Day speech (1) A

ll Praise is due to GOD Almighty Who spared our lives to be present at this great occasion. We give thanks also that the democratic process has been further entrenched and strengthened. Twenty years ago, a democratically elected government took over from the military in a historic transfer of political power for our country. Today, we are privileged to mark the longest period of unbroken democratic leadership and 5th peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another in Nigeria. Throughout the last four years, I respected the independence of INEC. I ensured that INEC got all the resources it needed for independent and impartial management of elections in the country. All interested parties are agreed that the recent elections, which except for pockets of unrest, were free, fair and peaceful. I thank all the people who worked for our party, who campaigned and who voted for us. I thank my fellow Nigerians, who, since 2003 have consistently voted for me. Victory is your greatest reward; peace, unity and greater prosperity will be our collective legacy. Your Excellencies, Fellow Nigerians, I and Nigerians collectively must give adequate thanks to our Armed Forces, Police and other law enforcing agencies for working round the clock to protect us by putting themselves in harm’s way and defending our values and protecting our future. Terrorism and insecurity are worldwide phenomena and even the best policed countries are experiencing increasing incidents of unrest and are finding things hard to cope. The principal thrust of this new Administration is to consolidate on the achievements of the last four years, correct the lapses inevitable in all human endeavors and tackle the new challenges the country is faced with and chart a bold plan for transforming Nigeria. Fellow Nigerians, I have had the privilege of free education from Primary school to Staff College to War College. I received my formative education in Katsina and Kaduna and my higher education in England, India and the United States. I have worked and served in Kaduna, Lagos, Abeokuta, Makurdi, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Ibadan, Jos and finally here in Abuja. Throughout my adult life, I have been a public servant. I have no other career but public service. I know no service but public service. I was involved at close quarters in the struggle to keep Nigeria one. I can therefore do no more than dedicate the rest of my life to work for the unity of Nigeria and upliftment of Nigerians. In 2002-2003 campaigns and elections, I travelled by road to 34 of the 36 states of the Federation. This year I travelled by air to all 36 states of the Federation. Before and during my time in the Armed Forces and in government, I have interacted with Nigerians of all ages and persuasions and different shades of opinion over a period of more than fifty years. And my firm belief is that our people above all want to live in peace and harmony with their fellow Nigerians. They desire opportunity to better themselves in a safe environment. Most of the instances of inter-communal and inter-religious strife and violence were and are still as a result of sponsorship or

President Muhammadu Buhari

And our country Nigeria is a great country. According to United Nations estimates, our population will rise to 411 million by 2050, making us the third most populous nation on earth behind only China and India incitements by ethnic, political or religious leaders hoping to benefit by exploiting our divisions and fault lines, thereby weakening our country. And our country Nigeria is a great country. According to United Nations estimates, our population will rise to 411 million by 2050, making us the third most populous nation on earth behind only China and India. We have water, arable land, forests, oil and gas and vast quantities of solid minerals. We are blessed with an equable climate. However, the bulk of our real wealth lies in Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry and Mining. We possess all the ingredients of a major economic power on the world stage. What we require is the will to get our acts together. And our strength is in our people – our youth, our culture, our resilience, our ability to succeed despite the odds. A huge responsibility therefore rests on this and succeeding Administrations to develop, harness and fulfil our enormous potential into a force to be reckoned with globally. Thus far, we Nigerians can be proud

of our history since Independence in 1960. We have contributed to UN peace-keeping responsibilities all over the world; we have stabilized Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and two years ago we prevented the Gambia from degenerating into anarchy. Without Nigerian influence and resources, the liberation of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and ultimately South Africa would have come at greater cost. This fact had been attested by none other than the late Nelson Mandela himself. Elsewhere, Nigeria is the Big Brother to our neighbours. We are the shock-absorber of the West African sub-region, the bulwark of ECOWAS and Lake Chad Basin Commission. We can therefore be proud to be Nigerians. We must continue to be Good Neighbours and Good Global Citizens. At home, we have been successful in forging a nation from different ethnicities and language groups: our evolution and integration into one nation continues apace. When, therefore we came to office in 2015 after a decade of struggle we identified three cardinal and existential challenges our country faced and made them our cam-

paign focus, namely security, economy and fighting corruption. None but the most partisan will dispute that in the last four years we have made solid progress in addressing these challenges. When I took the oath of office on 29 May 2015, insecurity reigned. Apart from occupying 18 local governments in the North East, Boko Haram could at will attack any city including the Federal Capital, could threaten any institution including bombing the United Nations building and Police Headquarters in Abuja. Admittedly, some of the challenges still remain in kidnappings and banditry in some rural areas. The great difference between 2015 and today is that we are meeting these challenges with much greater support to the security forces in terms of money, equipment and improved local intelligence. We are meeting these challenges with superior strategy, firepower and resolve. In face of these challenges, our Government elected by the people in 2015 and re-elected in March has been mapping out policies, measures and laws to maintain our unity and at the same time lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and onto the road to prosperity. This task is by no means unattainable. China has done it. India has done it. Indonesia has done it. Nigeria can do it. These are all countries characterized by huge burdens of population. China and Indonesia succeeded under authoritarian regimes. India succeeded in a democratic setting. We can do it. With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. Following the 60 percent drop in oil prices between 2015 and 2016, through monetary and fiscal measures, we stimulated economic growth, curbed inflation and shored up our external reserves. We now have witnessed 8 quarters of positive growth in the economy and our GDP is expected to grow by 2.7 percent this year. Furthermore, our external reserves have risen to $45 billion enough to finance over 9 months of current import commitments. This Administration is laying the foundation and taking bold steps in transforming our country and liberating our people from the shackles of poverty. First, we will take steps to integrate rural economies to the national economic “grid” by extending access to small-scale credits and inputs to rural farmers, credit to rural micro-businesses and opening up many critical feeder roads. Secondly, for small-scale enterprises in towns and cities, we shall expand facilities currently available so that we continue to encourage and support domestic production of basic goods and reduce our reliance of imported goods as I will outline later. For the next four years, we will remain committed to improving the lives of people by consolidating efforts to address these key issues as well as emerging challenges of climate change, resettling displaced communities and dealing decisively with the new flashes of insecurity across the country, and the impacts on food scarcity and regional stability. We are not daunted by the enormity of the tasks ahead. Instead, we are revived by this new mandate to work collaboratively with State and Local Governments, Legislators, the Diplomatic Corps and all Nigerians to rebuild and reposition our country as the heartbeat and reference point for our continent.

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Westafrica BusinessNews Thursday, June 13, 2019  

Westafrica BusinessNews Thursday, June 13, 2019