The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing immensely well, in spite of the dwindling revenues accruing to government.
The minister stated this while responding to questions on the state of the nation on an audience participatory programme of the language station of Radio Nigeria, Lagos operations, Bond FM 92.9 in lkeja.
The programme, aired in Yoruba Language, in Lagos.
Mohammed said the Buhari government was delivering on its election promises in spite of economic crunch due to dwindling price of crude oil and the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy.
He said that in terms of massive infrastructure renewal and delivery, Buhari’s government surpassed previous administrations which experienced oil boom but failed to effectively utilise it to better the lives of Nigerians.
Buttressing his position on the development in key sectors, Mohammed explained that since 1987, there was no definite investment in the railway infrastructure, until Buhari came in 2015.
He said many railway routes have been established, standard gauges inaugurated and many modern coaches acquired by the government, thereby transforming land transportation.
On the transformation of the Agricultural sector, the minister said before the Buhari administration came on board, Nigeria depended solely on importation of rice from Thailand and India.
He said with the visionary leadership of Buhari, Nigeria has 34 integrated rice mills while rice production by local farmers has significantly increased, leading to many locally made brands of rice.
Mohammed said the lingering crises in the power sector, was foisted on the country by previous administration which sold the generation and distribution arms of the sector to private companies without capacity to run the facilities effectively.
To rescue the situation, the minister said the Buhari government has spent N1.7trillion in subsidising electricity since it came into power.
The minister, however, said that government can no longer sustain the subsidy because of dwindling resources and the fact that it has not translated to steady power supply.
He explained that such funds are better used for other visible capital projects that would add value to the lives of Nigerians.
He urged Nigerians to be patient with the government with the ongoing restructuring of the power sector.
The minister assured that Nigeria will witness steady power supply with the implementation of the MoU signed with a foreign technology company, SIEMENS, to deliver 7,000mw by 2021 and 11,000mw by 2023.
He equally disclosed that the federal government spent N10.4 trillion on fuel subsidy from 2006 to 2009 reiterating that the regime can no longer be sustained under the prevailing economic conditions.
“Revenues and foreign exchange earnings by the government have fallen by almost 60 per cent due to the downturn in the fortunes of the oil sector.
“There is no provision for subsidy in the revised 2020 budget. So where will the subsidy money come from?
“Remember that despite the massive fall in revenues, the government still has to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects,” he said.
The minister noted that the citizens are not the beneficiaries of the subsidy on petroleum products that has lasted for years.
He explained that the administration removed fuel subsidy because only few persons were benefitting from the money, which was having no positive impact on the nation’s economy.
Mohammed noted that with the removal of subsidy the price of petroleum products would be determined by market forces of demand and supply.
He assured that the deregulation of the petroleum sector would save the country trillions of Naira, which can be used to provide modern infrastructures for the benefit of the people.
The minister added that the deregulation would spur investments in the petroleum industry, especially in the building of local refineries, and result in lower fuel prices.
He said that the first modular refinery that has the capacity to refine 5,000 barrels of petroleum products daily would be inaugurated in October in Imo state.
The minister said when the Dangote’s 650,000 barrels capacity per day refinery and other modular refineries come on stream, they would help in reducing the price of finished petroleum products in the country.
He assured that the government under the watch of President Buhari will not derail in its electioneering promises of taking Nigeria to the next level.
Army Names Abubakar Sponsor Of Terrorists
Troops of Operation Hadarin Daji have identified one Alhaji Abubakar as the financier of two terrorist collaborators arrested in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami made this known at the bi-weekly news briefing on the operations of the armed forces, yesterday, in Abuja.
Danmadami said the suspects were apprehended on September 15 at Access Bank, PZ Branch in Zaria while trying to withdraw the sum of N14million deposited into the account of Abubakar.
He said the relevant agencies were working assiduously to track the said financier and others who had been fingered for terrorism financing.
The director said the military and other security agencies remained committed to apprehending all terrorism financiers and collaborators in the country.
Danmadami also said the troops conducted operational activities in villages, communities, and towns in Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and the Kaduna states during the period and neutralized 16 terrorists.
He added that troops also arrested 10 notorious terrorists and rescued 21 kidnapped civilians at different locations in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
According to him, the air component on September 13, conducted an air interdiction operation at an identified terrorist hideout in Dutse Babare in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State.
“The air strike led to the neutralisation of a terrorist leader identified as Ibrahim Dangawo and other members of his gang.
“Similar, operation was carried out at Gidan Guga in Faskari Local Government Area also in Katsina State, at an identified terrorist enclave.
“The airstrike led to the neutralization of a terrorist kingpin known as Babaru who has been on the wanted list of security agents,” he said.
Danmadami said the troops also neutralised a large number of terrorists in an air raid at Kawari axis in Danmusa Local Government Area of Katsina State.
He said it was revealed that the terrorist group had been responsible for kidnapping and robbery incidents in the area.
In the North Central, Danmadami said the Commander, Operation Safe Haven, on September 10, held a joint peace summit to sensitise communities in Plateau on the need for peaceful coexistence.
He said the summit was part of the non-kinetic approach to resolving lingering security challenges in the state.
He said the air component of Operation Whirl Punch on September 8, carried out an air interdiction operation at an identified terrorist hideout at Gaude, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger, killing scores of terrorists.
“It was further revealed that all the attacks around Shiroro were orchestrated from this location and consequently, the hideout was bombarded.
“Feedback revealed that several terrorists were neutralised with others fleeing with various degrees of injuries.
“Also, two suspected gun runners en route Onitsha to Abuja were arrested by personnel of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency along Okene-Lokoja road in Kogi State.
“Items recovered from the suspects were 12 pump action guns and 374 cartridges.
“The arrested suspects and recovered items were handed over to the Nigerian Police for further action,” he said.
PDP Crisis: Wike, Makinde, Others Ditch Atiku’s Campaign Train …Insist On Ayu’s Resignation, National Chairman From South
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, his Oyo State counterpart, Engr Seyi Makinde, and other stakeholders have resolved not to participate in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign until, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, resigns as the national chairman of the party.
They emphasised that the publication of the Presidential Campaign Council list without the resolution of Ayu lingering debacle, translates to “putting the cart before the horse.”
Rising from a crucial meeting in the early hours of Wednesday in Port Harcourt, Makinde said they hope that the powers that be within the PDP would listen to the voice of reason and do the needful.
The former PDP South-West national vice chairman, Chief Olabode George, who read out the communique after the meeting, said they were concerned about the divisions in the party, and bemoaned the failure of the leadership to utilise the internal conflict resolution mechanisms to ensure inclusiveness of all and guarantee victory for the PDP.
“The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cart before the horse. The pertinent issue before the party remains the resolution of the Ayu leadership debacle, which is a departure from the spirit and letter of our constitution which undermines the unity of our great party.
“We, therefore, resolve that Senator Iyorchia Ayu resigns as the national chairman of the party for an acting chairman of Southern Nigeria extraction to emerge, and lead the party on the national campaign.
“Consequently, we resolve not to participate in the campaign council in whatever capacity until the resignation of Senator Iyorchia Ayu”.
In the same vein, former Plateau State Governor, Senator Jonah Jang, said the description of Sokoto State Governor, Hon Aminu Tambuwal as the PDP presidential primaries hero by Ayu, is antithetical to the principle of justice, fair play and equity on which the party was formed.
“It is true that everything is been done for us to have internal democracy in the party. But, for the national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Tambuwal, calling him the hero of the convention, which means there was a private arrangement that was done with Tambuwal to short change other contestants, including Wike.
“Here was a referee who now helps one of the sides to score a goal, and then blow the whistle that a goal had been scored.
“This is not what we formed the PDP to do for Nigerians, and therefore, we unequivocally asked that Ayu has to step down, so that having got the presidential candidate from the northern part of the country through his assistance, he should as well now step down so that a national chairman can move to the south, and the party can be united for the campaign towards 2023.”
He said Wike and others call for Ayu to resign is aimed at addressing the structural imbalance in the party’s hierarchy.
On his part, former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, said if PDP cannot restructure itself, it cannot restructure Nigeria.
He insisted that as committed PDP members, they’re sincerely desirous that the PDP returns to power and provide Nigerians excellent governance.
“But that cannot be achieved unless we have a proper structure of the party as designed by the founding fathers. We are men and women who are committed to the issues of justice, fairness, equity. You cannot build on a faulty foundation.
“Therefore, this call for the chairman to step down or resign is not because any of us is aggrieved, but because we believed it is important to ensure a fair structure, a just structure, a principle structure, a constitutional structure for the party.
“If we want to restructure Nigeria, we should have the courage to restructure our party. And that is why we have met and decided that this is extremely important, and therefore we want Nigerians to know.”
Gana maintained that they will remain committed members of PDP, but will continue to insist that the right things be done.
“We remain PDP, but we want things done justly, fairly, equitably.”
Former Gombe State Governor, Dr Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who also spoke, declared that they will work for the party to the extent that fairness, equity and justice is ensured in the party.
Those who attended the meeting are Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde; former governors of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose; Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Donald Duke (Cross River); PDP South-South National Vice Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih; former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, SAN; Senator Olaka Nwogu; Senator Lado Danmarke; Senator Mao Ohuabunwa; Senator Sandy Onor; Sulaiman Mohammed Nazif.
Others include, Rt. Hon. Chibudum Nwuche; Hon. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau; Hon. Nnenna Elendu Ukeje; Hon. Mohammed Maifada; Hon. Bayo Lawal; Mohammed Jamu; Caleb Mutwang and David Emmanuel Ombugadu.
Ariolu Calls For Diligence, Value-Oriented Service At Schools Board
Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, Barrister George Ariolu, has called for a paradigm shift and improved reforms in the education sector to enable discipline amongst academic staff as well as enhance learning activities in the area.
He said those whose positions were to render services must show diligence in the discharge of their duties in order to add immense value to the society.
Ariolu stated this while addressing members of the Rivers State Senior Secondary Schools Board, Obio/Akpor Zone, at the Council Headquarters, Rumuodomaya.
He stressed that any service rendered which was not value-oriented, does not depict governance, adding that leaders must first be of service to God before humanity.
Acknowledging the challenges in the education sector, Ariolu explained that his primary concern was the curriculum system, which if not designed in line with the dynamics of the country, may not be sustained.
Addressing the concerns around the challenges in the sector, Ariolu highlighted the role of board members in also tackling the issues.
While advocating the cooperation of zonal board members for the advancement of education in the area, the chairman said that his administration had paid requisite attention to education through the award of grants to deserving Post Graduate students drawn from different religious and tribal backgroundswithout considering party leaning.
Emphasising the importance of education in line with his administration’s vision, he also revealed that the council was training nine persons from the wards, including non-indigenes in Charkin Maritime Academy.
He said that the training cost his administration a whopping sum of over N4.2million per person.
Ariolu re-echoed continuous support for the promotion of education in the area, and disclosed the commencement of application for the second batch of the Post Graduate grant for students in the area.
He reaffirmed his administration’s resolve in ensuring that things run smoothly in the area, adding that people need to know their rights and defend it.
He blamed poor performance of leaders in authority on the failure of the electorate to question their actions, especially when they are not carrying out their duties in line with the requirements of the Constitution.
Responding to the demands of the board members, Ariolu maintained that efficiency of workers was largely affected by the nature of work environment, adding that the council would intervene where necessary.
He, however, promised to provide a larger office space to accommodate the over 60 staff strength of the board in the area.
Speaking earlier, Zonal Director of the board, Mrs Esther Owhor Chukwu, called for an improved partnership with the local government to tackle challenges of the sector and to enhance academic activities in the area.
She also lauded Ariolu’s efforts in the development and growth of education in the area, particularly in human capital development.
Also speaking, a former Caretaker Committee Chairman and member of the board, Dr Mesua Wilson Nwibari, described Ariolu as a people-oriented chairman, who had continued to put his people first in governance.
He further eulogised the council chairman as a man with vast knowledge to lead, considering the metropolitan nature of the local government.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
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