APC blasts Fayose for opposing Buhari’s request for loan from China

The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ekiti State has slammed the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose for writing and travelling to the Peoples Republic of China to oppose the Federal Government’s resolve to take loan from China for development purposes.

Fayose and Buhari

Fayose had on Wednesday written to the government of China, urging President XI Jinping not to approve $2bn loan to implement development component of the 2016 national budget. He sent the letter through his emissary to the Chinese Embassy in Abuja, while he personally took a copy of the letter to
Shanghai to be delivered to the Chinese President.

But the party reacted by noting that Fayose’s conduct amounted to a national sabotage and a seditious
conduct that must not be allowed to go unchallenged. It explained that President Muhammadu Buhari’s initiative aligns with the practice of other countries of the world that are engaged in bilateral arrangements.

In a statement issued yesterday by its Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, the party regretted that the Governor got himself busy, spending Ekiti money on frivolities while workers’ salaries remained unpaid for four months.

The statement reads, “As we speak, doctors are on strike and Ekiti people are dying while the governor gets himself busy with the activities that will lead to evasion of justice in his several alleged criminal cases so that he can protect his questionable wealth across the world. Even though he has the right to entertain himself being a jester as he has always been, this should not be taken to the extent of constituting a security risk to the Federal Republic.

“While other PDP governors, notably Governor Ayade of Cross River State, are always in Aso Rock on building relationship with the Federal Government for the development of their states, Fayose has made himself a lone enemy of the Federal Government as a self-appointed leader of the
opposition to discredit Buhari’s development initiatives.”

APC passes vote of no confidence on Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

The Kogi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has passed a vote of no confidence on the state governor, Yahaya Bello, accusing him of sidelining members of the state executive council and other organs of the party in the affairs of the state.

Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

The state executive council of the party met in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital on Monday, April 11 and part of the outcome of the meeting was to forward a letter to the national headquarters of the party detailing the many “sins” of Governor Bello.

In a letter dated April 12, 2016, and addressed to the National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun and signed by all the 34 members of the state executive council, the Kogi APC accused Mr. Bello of sidelining members of the governing party and hobnobbing with members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

They accused Mr. Bello of failing to appoint even a single card-carrying member of the APC, saying “all the 45 appointments made so far by His Excellency Gov. Yahaya Bello are given to the PDP”.

Members of the Kogi State House of Assembly are currently involved in leadership crisis with two members claiming the office of Speaker.

The House of Representatives also recently passed a resolution to take over the affairs of the House after efforts to reconcile the state lawmakers failed.

The APC exco accused Mr. Bello of being the source of the crisis in the House.

Members of the executive council also passed a resolution in the meeting to say “from now henceforth, we will have nothing to do with the government of Yahaya Bello”.

Part of their request to the national leadership of the party was that Mr. Bello should not be allowed to have a hand in producing the next ministerial nominee from the state to replace the late James Ocholi, who died recently in a road accident along Abuja/ Kaduna expressway.

The party chieftains advised the national secretariat and the presidency to work with the state party leaders in appointing a replacement.

When contacted, the Kogi state APC publicity secretary, Ghali Usman, confirmed the meeting and the decision taken.

He said the only time the state exco met with Mr. Bello “was before his inauguration when he went to collect his certificate of return”.

He however, added that “since then we have no idea of what is happening in the administration.

“The governor asked us to submit all we need before his inauguration which we did in writing, but he has since ignored our list and continued to appoint PDP people”.

The Exco members also accused Mr. Bello of working with the opposition PDP in the recent re-run elections in the state.

“An APC governor who supported the PDP in the last re-run election making us to lose two senators, one House of Reps and two House of Assembly members, an APC governor who has not deemed it fit to appoint a single APC member in his cabinet and board, an APC Governor who openly relates with PDP Local Government Chairmen and leaders and abandon his party men is not our best dream project,” they said.

Resistance to change

In his reaction, Governor Bello said members of the party executive in the state were resisting the change he was bringing to the state.

Speaking through his spokesperson, Kingsley Fanwo, on Saturday, Mr. Bello said his administration was “not unaware of some political chess play among members of the State executive committee of the party in the state.”

He said the circumstances that brought the governor to office were “surely unusual. Therefore, unusual reactions are expected”.

Mr. Fanwo said whatever might be going on within the state executive council “is surely a contagious effect from the politics of interest within the party leaders in the state.

“We expect the state executive committee of the party to keep working with the leadership revolution that is reshaping the state to ensure rapid development,” he said.

While insinuating that the running mate to late Abubakar Audu, James Faleke, is behind the party’s decision, Mr. Fanwo said both “Faleke and Governor Yahaya Bello are members of the change family and no one should allow himself to be caught in the political crossfire playing out in the state.”

Mr. Faleke is presently at the state governorship election tribunal challenging the emergence of Mr. Bello as governor.

Mr. Bello emerged as governor after inheriting the bulk of the votes scored by the late Mr. Audu and Mr. Faleke in the election held last year.

Mr. Fanwo said Mr. Bello was committed to working effectively with the leadership of the party.

He added that the governor appreciates the role of the leaders of the party in ensuring the resounding victory of the APC in the state.

“Now that APC is in firm control of the state, it is foolhardy to think party leaders won’t bury their differences to deliver solid dividends to the Kogi people.

“It is absolutely untrue, ignominious and unintelligent to insinuate that members of the State Executive Committee of APC are working at variance with the landmark progress of the APC government in the state.

“The SEC of APC is aligning with the vox populi that has continued to hail the fairness, boldness and dynamism of the present administration in Kogi State. With the train of the New Direction already taking Kogi to new destinations of hope, the party must be very proud of the laudable programs and policies of the Yahaya Bello administration in the state.

“We also urge those stoking the flame of discord from outside the state to believe in the judiciary and stop their war which has continued to fail. Kogi has a new government and hope is here.

“The people and the party have confident in their Governor to continue to stir the state to the confluence of opportunities and possibilities.

“However, the governor will remain the firm leader of the party who is prepared to build a united, virile and disciplined APC that has the capacity not only to win elections, but to deliver democracy dividends.

The governor will sustain his commitment towards building a great state without prejudice to ethnicity, religion or political appeals,” he said.

Again Court strikes out Saraki’s application to stop trial

Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday struck out the application by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, seeking nullification of his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki in Accused box
Senate President, Bukola Saraki in Accused box

Saraki had in his application before the Justice Kafarati-led court requested that his ongoing trial at the Tribunal be stopped, claiming it’s an infringement on his fundamental human rights as enshrined in Section Four of the 1999 constitution and an obstruction to his duties at the National Assembly.

Justice Kafarati in his ruling, however, held that the court of law cannot interfere with the legal obligations of the CCT as it is a constitutional body.

“I find that none of the claims fall within chapter four of the constitution”

“This court cannot interfere with the proceedings before the tribunal; it cannot also interfere with the duties of the respondents which have been imposed on them by law,”Kafarati said.

Noting that the trial at the tribunal cannot be regarded as an infringement on the Senate Presidents right, the judge said, “There are Criminal procedure laws that put in place the method of protecting the accused.”

Justice Kafarati, while dismissing that claim that the trial at the tribunal falls short of the constitutional requirements, said such insinuation was “a sentimental claim that has no basis in law.”

Saraki is currently standing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged false declaration of assets and fraud while he was still the governor of Kwara State.

(Source: DAILY POST)

Nigerian government delegation visits Chibok, reassures on commitment to find missing girls

Nigerian government delegation visits Chibok

The Federal Government on Thursday reassured that it will continue to strive hard to find the 219 missing students of the Government Secondary School Chibok who were abducted on April 14, 2014 by suspected insurgent.

Amina Muhammad, the Minister of Environment, said this while speaking at the 2nd year anniversary of the abduction of the girls in Chibok headquarters of Chibok Local Government Area of Borno.

Ms. Muhammad led a delegation consisting of two other ministers and two ministers to the event.

“It is with heavy heart that we visit today. We visit today because it is not for want of efforts that your children,our children have not been found.

“We had prayed that we will bring good news to you now, but the only news that we are bringing to you is our continuous commitment to bring back those daughters to their families and their communities,” she said.

Ms. Muhammad said that government would continue to liaise with the military and its allies in the international community towards finding the girls.

Other members of the delegation were Minister of State for National Planning Zainab Ahmed, her works, power and housing counterpart, Baba Shehuri, Senator Muhammad Ndume (APC-Borno South) and Senator Binta Garba (APC-Adamawa North).

The ministers joined Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno to offer prayers for the safe return of the teenagers .

Some parents and relations of the abducted girls called for more effort for the release of the girls to relieve their pains.

A leader of the parents, Yakubu Nkeki, in a speech, said the grief and sorrow of their missing daughters were boldly written on their faces.

“We cannot fathom your definite location and the condition you are in right now. Are you alive or dead? Are you pregnant, put to bed or empty?. Have you eaten the food of your choice or forced to eat something against your will? Have you taken your bath today? How do you take care of yourself during your menstrual flow?”

He said they were aware that nobody could answer some of the posers except the abductors of their daughters, urging the government to step up efforts at freeing the girls.

The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, said former President Goodluck Jonathan should be blamed for the woes of the Chibok parents.

He said the schoolgirls would have been freed few days after the abduction had the former president acted.

“The president didn’t even believe the abduction took place. Perhaps that was why he and his wife never visited Chibok even for once.

He asked the people to submit the lists of indigenous contractors of Chibok extraction to the government for consideration for the award of contracts for the building of new schools and hospital in the Chibok town.

Senators Ndume and Garba, in their separate remarks, appealed to the parents and families of the girls to be united in prayers.

“President Buhari is committed to securing the release of these girls but we need to be focused and support the government.

“It is not time for blames,” they said.

They said the presence of government delegation of three ministers, senators and other senior officials in Chibok to pray with the people underscored the sensitivity of the presidency to the Chibok issue.

The Chairman, Chibok Local Government, Abba Lawan, thanked the Federal Government delegation and the state government.

The initiator of #BringBackOurGirls# campaign, Aisha Usman, also attended the commemorative event.

The Minister later announced government’s donation of a truck of food items, clothing and money to the mothers of the missing girls.

(NAN)

SON, EU BUILDS OPERATORS’ CAPACITY ON NON-OIL EXPORTS

 
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in collaboration with European Union (EU) has concluded plans to organise a final national training on standards on code of practice for some agriculture produces.
The workshop scheduled for Abuja on April 2016 , according to a statement jointly signed by Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, Acting Director of SON and Mrs. Irina Kireeva of EU maintained that the event would unveil the results of training facilitated by the organisation focusing on exports of key agriculture commodities including cocoa, beans, shea-butter, and melon.
The project coming on the heels of EU ban of Nigeria beans in the international market, would eventually equip participants with the technicalities’ of the export market, with regards to the issues of development of standards and the engagement of the private sector.
A release by the organisers says the Theme of the training ‘Standard and Quality– Unleashing the potential of Agricultural products to grow the Non-oil Exports in Nigeria’,  is being organised under the auspices of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries from the EU’s Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).About 100 participants are expected at the forum.
The TBT Programme is financed by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund, with its main objective being to contribute to improving competitiveness in local, regional and export markets by enhancing the export capacity of economic operators in ACP countries. These it seeks to achieve through: the enhancement of the capacity of regional and continental quality infrastructure institutions; coordination and harmonisation of ACP technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures to facilitate intra-regional trade.
Other are through the provision of a pool of broadened capacity of economic operators to comply with Technical Regulations, Standards and Conformity Assessment Procedures set by major trading partners in selected priority sectors;
It is a demand-driven programme responding to requests for capacity building from ACP countries to ensure full ownership by the ACP beneficiaries.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SONis the statutory government agency with the sole responsibility for National Policy on Standards, Standards Specification, Quality Control and Metrology, Manufacturers of Industrial and imported products and services.
SON is an active member of the African Regional Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is the Food Standardization Organ of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and is also a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
Osun Doctors Call Off Seven Months Strike

Striking medical doctors in Osun State under the aegis of Association of Medical and Dental Officers, on Sunday suspended their seven months industrial action.

Osun Doctors Call Off Seven Months Strike
Osun Doctors Call Off Seven Months Strike

The chairman of the association, Isiaka Adekunle, confirmed the suspension of the strike in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Sunday in Osogbo.

He said the doctors would report for duty on Monday..

Mr. Adekunle said that though the government was yet to meet any of their demands, their decision to resume work was in response to appeals from well-meaning people of the state.

He, however, said that the association would continue to dialogue with the government.

Mr. Adekunle said the association took the decision to call off the strike at its Annual General Meeting held on March 30.

He said: “the Speaker of the state Assembly, Mr. Najeem Salaam and some other people prevailed on us to call off the strike.

2016 Budget Will Lift Millions of Nigerians Out of Poverty – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the 2016 budget will lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty and that there is no disagreement whatsoever between the Executive and the Legislature on the 2016 Budget, which has been passed by the National Assembly.

2016 Budget Will Lift Millions of Nigerians Out of Poverty - Lai Mohammed
2016 Budget Will Lift Millions of Nigerians Out of Poverty – Lai Mohammed

“There is absolutely no rift, no issue of budget being sent back. Things are just taking their due course,” the Minister said in Abuja on Thursday when he visited the corporate headquarters of the Leadership newspaper, as part of his continuous engagement with stakeholders in the media industry.

He said it was not true that the President has refused to sign the Appropriation Bill passed by the National Assembly, adding: “It takes a few days (after the passage) for the National Assembly to clean up the document in readiness for the President’s assent.”

Speaking further on the budget, Alhaji Mohammed said when it is eventually passed into law, it will lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty, thanks to the six focal areas of social intervention contained therein.

“The first is the employment of 500,000 unemployed university graduates who we are going to train as teachers. Two, we are also employing 370,000 unemployed non-graduates, people with National Diploma and Technical Certificate. The third tranche is the social intervention targeted at 1 million people made up of market women, traders and artisans to be trained and given loans through their cooperatives.

“The fourth one is the home-grown One-Meal-A-Day Programme. Here we are targeting several millions of pupils in primary schools all over Nigeria. The exponential effect of this one meal a day is huge.

 Even if we are targeting five million pupils and we are giving each of them one egg a day, you are talking about five million eggs that will be provided by our poultry farmers. This will also help to increase the demand for maize and then you are going to employ people all around,” he said.

The Minister further disclosed that the Federal Government will also commence the Conditional Cash Transfer to the most vulnerable Nigerians, in collaboration with some development partners, to bring succour to such people.

He said that a special bursary scheme will also come on stream to grant scholarships to students of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in a deliberate effort to support the students financially while also bolstering the nation’s drive for industrialization.

Alhaji Mohammed also disclosed that the sum of N350 billion will soon be injected into the economy to enable contractors to resume work on abandoned infrastructural projects, with timeline and target on project delivery and job creation.

He thanked Nigerians for their patience and the understanding of the challenges facing the government, saying rather than give excuses, the government was working round the clock to alleviate the pains of Nigerians.

Police Kill Armed Robber In Shootout, Recover Gun, Ammunition

Lagos State police command has killed an armed robber  while a policeman sustained gunshot wound in the stomach during a shootout at Coconut, in Apapa area of the metropolis.

Police Kill Armed Robber In Shootout, Recover Gun, Ammunition
Police Kill Armed Robber In Shootout, Recover Gun, Ammunition

The State command spokesperson, SP Dolapo Badmos told LEADERSHIP Friday that a policeman attached to Police Mobile Force 2 Keffi , Ikoyi had engaged a notorious armed robbery gang in  exchange of gunfire at Coconut Bus stop, Trinity, Apapa.

Dolapo said Cpl.  Ayeni Adetayo posted to Micura Service LTD Apapa, while on duty noticed two men on motorcycle known as Okada, in the local parlance trying to snatch a bag from a woman.

She said, “ On sighting the situation the policeman moved towards the scene but the armed robber at the back of the okada opened fire on the policeman and in a shoot out that ensued, the robber died, while the rider of the Okada fled. However the policeman sustained gun shot injury at the abdominal area.”

She said, however one pistol with sevenrounds of live ammunition were recovered from the suspect who has been on the watch list of the command in the last two months.

She also said, “The deceased robber specializes in snatching bags from women mostly the ones coming out of banks.”

Efforts are on to track the rider who is at large, while the policeman is receiving treatment in the hospital.

NACA Takes HIV Study to C/River

As part of efforts to checkmate the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to uninfected persons, National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) has taken Nigerian Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PREP) demonstration study to Cross River State.

HivAids Ribbon
HivAids Ribbon

The study, which is conducted in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to PREP coordinator in the state, Dr. Promise Adat, is currently focused on couples.

In her presentation yesterday at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Adat said the benefits of PREP to Nigerian couples cannot be overemphasized.

“Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis PREP is a deliberate effort to prevent an uninfected person or partner who is at risk of getting HIV from getting infected.

“This particular study is for couples in sexual relationship, where one partner is infected with HIV and the other is not.

“It is to determine the best way to include PREP in the nation’s HIV prevention programming. To prevent an uninfected person from getting infected, free sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, free family planning of choice for couples, as well as free HIV education.”

Dr. Adat urged all concerned to take their drugs as and when due in order to ensure its effectiveness, adding that access to treatment for people living with HIV infection has improved.

She disclosed that so far, 61 couples had been screened and 11 enrolled for the study, while 9 are currently placed on drugs.

China’s Oil Imports From Nigeria Falls

China’s crude oil import from Nigeria dropped by 7.5 percent from 11.41 million barrels in 2014 to 10.56 million barrels last year, information gathered from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC ) has shown.

According to figures made public by NNPC data, the world’s largest energy consumer bought  crude from Nigeria just for five months in 2015 compared with a nine months purchase in 2014.

A breakdown of the 2015 import showed that the largest volume of 3.9 million barrels in October and it bought 2.85 million barrels in February.

China’s purchase fell to 949,721 barrels in March, went further down to 948,024 barrels in July and rose to 1.9 million barrels in December.

The highest export of Nigerian crude to China in 2014 was 1.96 million barrels in January as revealed by the NNPC’s data.

Last year, the Asian country imported a record amount of crude oil, an opportunity created by the drastic fall its price which was below a 10 year annual average.

China’s global import of crude last year increased by 8.8 per cent to 334 million metric tons, or about 6.7 million barrels per day, according to data sourced from a the Beijing-based, General Administration of Customs in January.

The country had earlier this month said it would seek to buy more crude oil from Nigeria in spite of the recent changes in prices or the re-admittance of Iran into the oil block.

The Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Zao LingXiang, said,“In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter whether Iran comes back or not; chinese companies want to import more crude oil from Nigeria”.