Corruption Costs World $2.6bn …As Kerry Warns Against Excessive Force On Insurgents
The United States Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, yesterday, said corruption costs the world over $2.6billion, annually.
Kerry made the disclosure in Sokoto at the Sultan’s palace where he delivered a speech entitled:” The importance of resilient communities and religious tolerance in countering violent extremism.”
He said: “This is money that can be used to improve the living standard and provide decent livelihoods for them.
“Corruption is not only a crime, but very dangerous and it must be tamed,” he said, and remarked that corrupt officials, globally were ‘crooks’.
The US Secretary of state also acknowledged the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to holistically fight corruption, noting thatý President Muhammadu Buhari understood this, as he was elected on the platform of clean government.
“Nigeria is already a regional leader in the fight against corruption. The countryý is also a role model in the ongoing global efforts to fight corruption”, he pointed out.
Accordingly, Kerry acknowledged the ongoing efforts by Buhari to entrench morality, transparency, honesty and good governance in public life while noting that, Buhari was also making commendable efforts to recover all stolen funds.
Kerry stressed the need for the support of the military, other security agencies and the judiciary, among others, to ensure the success of the anti-corruption campaigns.
He reiterated that, “US is also fully committed to fighting corruption and the entrenchment of good governance globally.
“One of Nigeria’s strength is diversity of culture and religious tolerance.
“The former leaders of the defunct Sokoto caliphate and others like the late Sir Ahmadu Bello had stood by the virtues of peace, unity and tolerance,”
He further acknowledged President Buhari’s bold efforts in fighting insurgency and other crimes across the country, saying that, “Boko Haram boasts no agenda more than to burn schools.
“They also kill and maim people, especially teachers, and it is the opposite of any religion.”
Kerry also expressed US deep commitment to working with its partners like Nigeria, to be able to build counter-terrorism capacities while disclosing that, it has worked out counter-terrorism strategies for implementation globally.
He commended the sultan for his relentless efforts to entrench peace, unity and prosperity in Nigeria and beyond.
The US secretary of state also lauded the plan by the sultanate council of Sokoto to establish an all-women university, noting thatý girls, women, children and other vulnerable groups must be educated, given jobs and opportunities to explore their potentials.
While speaking at a news conference in Sokoto, Kerry also emphasised that extremism can’t be defeated through repression or fear.
Kerry congratulated Nigeria on its recent military successes against Boko Haram, but warned the country will face a blowback if it “cracks down” on the Islamists with excessive force.
The secretary of state praised Nigeria for reclaiming swathes of territory from Boko Haram and releasing thousands of hostages over the past year.
Nigeria has made “important progress”, Kerry said, adding that, “Nigeria and its neighbours are degrading Boko Haram’s capabilities.”
But Kerry cautioned against a heavy-handed response and emphasised respect for human rights.
“In the wake of terrorist activity, some are tempted to crack down on anyone and everyone,” Kerry said.
“But extremism can’t be defeated through repression or fear. Fear instilled through repression invites not confidence but contempt,” Kerry said, “it creates terrorists.”
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused Nigerian troops of excessive force and extra-judicial killings of suspected Boko Haram insurgents, hundreds of Shiite Muslims and pro-Biafra protestors. The military has denied the charges.
On his third visit to Nigeria in less than two years, Kerry met with traditional and religious leaders, and appealed to Nigerians to practise equality and tolerance to “overcome deep-seated ethnic and religious divisions.”
His remarks come one day after police reported that a Muslim mob in northern Nigeria killed eight people after torching the house of a Muslim man who stood up for a Christian student accused of blasphemy.
He also met with President Muhammadu Buhari later yesterday in Abuja as part of a three-nation tour focussed on counterterrorism.
The top US diplomat, who was in Kenya on Monday, is expected to discuss the Boko Haram insurgency, fighting corruption and boosting Nigeria’s moribund economy that has been pummelled by the drop in global oil prices.
In its quest to create a fundamentalist Islamic state Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced 2.6 million from their homes.
With homes and businesses destroyed and farmland devastated, the United Nations has warned that some 50,000 children could starve to death this year in Borno state alone if nothing is done.
Earlier in August the US government pledged $37 million in aid for victims of Boko Haram as fears of a famine mounted in the ravaged Lake Chad region.
In his remarks, Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar commended Kerry for the visit, and “inspiring speech”, saying that “This will encourage us to redouble our efforts for a more stronger, united and prosperous Nigeria.
The event was witnessed by Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and and Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara states, including ýreligious, traditional and community leaders, as well as students.
We’ll Expand Socio-Economic Opportunities For All Rivers People -Fubara ……As Wike Bows Out
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared his administration’s resolve to expand the existing socio-economic opportunities in order to engender prosperity for all Rivers people.
Fubara made this declaration on Monday at the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, venue of his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, administered the oath of office on the new governor and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.
Thereafter, the former governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, handed over the flag of Rivers State and handover notes to his successor.
Fubara, in his inaugural address titled “Together, Let’s Consolidate the New Rivers State”, noted the poor state of the national economy, but promised that his administration would take measures to diversify Rivers economy and insulate it so that it can grow.
He also assured of promoting the climate of ease of doing business in the State to attract direct foreign investment capable of empowering Rivers people.
“The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
“Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
“We will prioritise the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services”, he said.
He said further that, “We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
“We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
“We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.”
Fubara added that his administration is already building on the successes of his predecessor and will construct more projects including the Port Harcourt ring road.
According to him, there shall be healthy partnership with private investors to provide integrated inter-modular public transportation system in the State.
“We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do.
“We will follow our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity supply to our rural areas, and social housing.
“We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the state.
“We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State”.
Fubara said the challenges in the health sector like inadequate manpower and corruption would be addressed to achieve optimal performance.
In the education sector, he promised to provide smart classrooms for students to prepare for global competition, empower the youths with skills to become economically active while being connected to small and medium scale business opportunities.
He said, “We care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures. We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
“We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.”
The governor particularly acknowledged the achievements of his predecessor in the health sector saying, “We are also proud of the state’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
“With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management”.
Fubara gave a firm assurance by saying: “I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
“We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.”
According to him, his administration will consolidate on the progress made so far by “introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.”
Fubara vowed to be hard on crime and criminality in the State saying, “We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security”.
The governor thanked civil servants for their support and promised regular payment of salary, gratuity, more training, promotion for them and housing for low income earners.
Describing the civil servants as members of his constituency, he said, “To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the state’s progress over the years.
“We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties”.
He further promised to govern Rivers people with the fear of God, cognizance of the fact that Rivers is a Christian state.
He also assured the church and spiritual leaders of his administration robust partnership to enhance the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Rivers people.
“Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.”
“We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
“We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being”, he assured.
At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor hung the official portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his own and that of his predecessor, Wike.
… Appoints Nwaeke HoS, Ideozu Acountant General
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has approved two new strategic appointments in the state Civil Service.
In the latest development, the governor has approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant and permanent secretary, Dr. George Nwaeke as Head of Service, Rivers State.
He also approved the appointment of Dr Uche Ideozu as the new Accountant General of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo, Esq, said that the appointments take immediate effect.
The two fresh appointments bring to six the number of appointments already made by the governor since assuming duties on Monday, May 29.
The first set of appointments was the nomination of four former commissioners under Governor Nyesom Wike as commissioner-designates.
The names are Prof Zaccheaus Adangor, Dr Dakorima George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu, and Prof Prince Chinedu Mmom.
While Adangor was attorney general and commissioner for justice, George-Kelly was works commissioner, Kamalu was finance commissioner, and Mmom was education commissioner.
Fuel Scarcity: Tinubu Resumes Work, Meet With Emefiele, Kyari
President Bola Tinubu yesterday officially resumed work at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
This was the first official assignment by the President after his inauguration as the 16th President of the country at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday.
The President arrived at the forecourt of the State House at about 2:30 pm through the quarter guard gate, which is his official entrance gate and was received by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the outgoing Director of Protocol, DOP.
Others who received him were Emefiele, Kyari and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
The President went straight to his office with Emefiele, Kyari, Gbajabiamila, Faleke and others.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, it may not be unconnected with the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant fuel scarcity.
It is expected that the issue of unification of foreign exchange, recent Naira redesign, among others will also be discussed.
Recall that President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech announced that the subsidy has been removed and this immediately made filling stations to shut down operations across the country.
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