BREAKING: Buhari Approves Extension Of Eased COVID-19 Lockdown By Four Weeks

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown for another four weeks.

Continue reading “BREAKING: Buhari Approves Extension Of Eased COVID-19 Lockdown By Four Weeks”

President Buhari celebrates Sallah with family in Abuja (Photos)

Continue reading “President Buhari celebrates Sallah with family in Abuja (Photos)”

FULL LIST: Buhari Names Train Stations After Several ‘Prominent Nigerians’

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo is not among the “deserving Nigerians” whom President Muhammadu Buhari has named some railway stations after.

On Monday, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, announced that the president had given approval that stations along the Lagos-Ibadan and the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri corridors should be named in honour of some of the nation’s leaders.

Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo are among those that stations were named after.

Below is a full list of those who were honoured:

LAGOS

  • Mobolaji Johnson   Ebute Metta Station
  • Babatunde Fashola  Agege station
  • Bola Ahmed Tinubu Apapa station
  • Lateef Jakande     Agbado station

OGUN

  • Yemi Osinbajo Kajola station
  • Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti Papalanto station
  • Wole Soyinka Abeokuta station

OYO

  • Segun Osoba       Olodo station
  • Ladoke Akintola  Omio-Adio station
  • Obafemi Awolowo Ibadan station

KOGI

  • Adamu Attah       Itakpe station
  • Olushola Saraki   Ajaokuta station

EDO

  • Augustus Aikhomu Itogbo station
  • George Innih Agenebode station
  • Anthony Eromosele Enahoro Uromi station
  • Tom Ikimi Ekehen station
  • Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia  Igbanke station

DELTA

  • Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Agbor Station Complex
  • David Ejoor Abraka station
  • Micheal Ibru Opara station
  • Alfred Rewane (Ujevwu station) and
  • Mike Akhigbe  Railway Village, Agbor
  • Alex Ekwueme (Operation Control Centre)

Buhari Attends Virtual Meeting Of ECOWAS Extraordinary Session

President Muhammadu Buhari participates in a virtual extraordinary meeting of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) on June 23, 2020.

President Muhammadu Buhari is at a virtual meeting of the Extraordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.

Continue reading “Buhari Attends Virtual Meeting Of ECOWAS Extraordinary Session”

Just In: PDP caucus in House of Reps threaten to impeach President Buhari

– PDP members in the House of Reps have disclosed that they are considering impeaching President Buhari

Continue reading “Just In: PDP caucus in House of Reps threaten to impeach President Buhari”

Buhari’s COVID-19 economic plan: old wine in new wineskins

President Muhammadu Buhari raises his fist during an inspection of honour guards on parade to mark Democracy Day in Abuja, on June 12, 2019. Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

Stephen Onyeiwu, Allegheny College

COVID-19 is increasingly wreaking havoc on the health of Nigerians, but its economic impact may well be more devastating. Before the pandemic, the Nigerian economy was growing at an anaemic rate of 2%. The country has also been suffering from high poverty and unemployment rates. This is paradoxical for a country endowed with humongous natural resources.

Determined to blunt the economic trauma of COVID-19 and minimise its impact on poverty, unemployment, insecurity and violence, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari announced the establishment of an inter-ministerial Economic Sustainability Committee. He gave it the remit to recommend measures that would prevent further economic collapse. Headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the committee submitted its report to the President in mid-June.

There are two main pillars to the economic sustainability plan. The first is job creation and the second an infusion of cash. These will be achieved through targeted investments in agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing, renewable energy, housing, information technology. The proposal also included cash transfers as well as “survival funds” for medium and small scale enterprises. The plan is remarkable by its emphasis on the use of local contents to support its initiatives.

But most of what’s in the plan is neither novel nor ground-breaking. It includes projects that had been bandied around by previous administrations, with little success.

The difference appears to be the scale and intensity with which the projects are to be undertaken.

In fact the plan sounds very much like the doomed Vision 2020, which was a long-term strategic intent launched by the Nigerian government in 2009 to promote economic growth, socio-economic development and structural transformation. The overarching goal was to enable Nigeria to become one of the top 20 economies in the world, as well as achieve an annual GDP of at least $900 billion and a GDP per capital of $4000. These goals are far from being achieved.

Post COVID-19, what Nigeria urgently needs are initiatives and projects that instantaneously infuse massive cash into the coffers of severely cash-strapped individuals, households, traders, small enterprises and corporations.

The gaps

Perhaps the greatest shortcoming of the report is that it delegates implementation to government ministers, each of whom is expected to set up an implementation committee. This is very reminiscent of previous government efforts.

It is no secret that the wheels of the Nigerian bureaucracy grind excruciatingly slowly. The economic recovery plan should have set up a special implementation taskforce outside of the bureaucracy.

History may offer a useful lesson here. During the post-World War II when European economies were devastated, the US led its allies to launch the Marshall Plan for Europe’s economic reconstruction. Rather than delegate implementation to government bureaucracies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were specifically created to undertake the task.

In times of unprecedented crisis, your worst enemy is the bureaucracy.

Unfortunately, Buhari’s Economic Sustainability Plan has fallen into the same trap as its antecedents: it is likely to gather dust in government ministries and agencies.

Murky roadmap

Apart from the lack of novelty, the report is vague and speculative about how initiatives would be accomplished.

For instance, the plan proposes the creation of 5 million jobs within 12 months by bringing 20,000 – 100,000 hectares of land per state into cultivation. The private sector is expected to drive the process. But it’s unclear what mechanisms would incentivise profit-maximising enterprises to employ this number of farm workers.

And how might state governments be encouraged to provide land for farming, when many of them vehemently refused to provide land for the Federal Government’s botched Rural Grazing Areas scheme?

Some of the key provisions in the plan are not implementable without the cooperation of state governments. The frosty relationship between the Buhari administration and states controlled by the opposition People’s Democratic Party, which now stands at 16 out of 36 states of the Nigerian federation, suggests this could be a bottleneck.

More intriguing, however, is the fact that most of the projects proposed in the report may not be completed before the end of the Buhari administration. One such example is the solar energy project. The plan proposes supplying 5 million Nigerian households (or about 25 million individuals) with solar energy. The report requires that solar power equipment be produced in Nigeria.

This isn’t particularly realistic in a country that imports toothpicks, petrol and generators. The US, with its technological prowess, has been able to supply only about 12 million households with solar energy since 2008.

Another proposal that has a very murky implementation plan is the goal of creating 1.8 million jobs through the construction of 300,000 homes (400 in each local government area). The Ministry of Works and Housing is tasked with its implementation. But the report concedes that the ministry is yet to figure out the “design and template” for the houses. This is a manifestation of the lack of preparation for this project.

The report recommends an increase in the number of cash transfer recipients. But it doesn’t say how big the cash transfers should be and what mechanisms will be used to transfer cash to the new recipients, many of whom are expected to be rural dwellers.

Furthermore, the funding of the plan is nebulous. Recognising that the Nigerian economy would contract by 4.40% if no measures were taken, the recovery plan opted for a Naira 2.3 trillion stimulus package. This, it’s been estimated, will ensure that the economy doesn’t decline by more than 0.59%.

But the report is evasive about how the proposed projects will be financed. While about 70% of the estimated cost of the plan is expected to come from “Special Accounts” and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s “structured lending,” the source of the rest is not clearly defined.

The plan calls for local sourcing of most of the inputs to be used in the various projects. But it does not discuss in detail the foreign exchange implications, especially in light of uncertainties in the global oil market.

To hedge against foreign exchange risks and avoid inflation from high cost of imported goods, the plan should have specified a forward exchange rate at which participants in the plan can purchase foreign exchange.

Solution

The plan should have been divided into phases, starting with one devoted to initiatives that would immediately pump cash into the economy.

Without an instantaneous infusion of massive cash, the Nigerian economy risks an inexorable slide into stagflation, which is a lethal combination of a recession and hyperinflation.

Stephen Onyeiwu, Professor and Chair of the Economics Department, Allegheny College

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Nigeria’s lack of transparency in fighting Coronavirus will backfire

By Mike Ikenwa

During a public health crisis, a government’s credibility is a vital asset. To slow the spread of a virus, the government must convincingly inform and instruct the public. And to do this, it must inspire trust.  Trust by following the science, acting out of the interests of the population, and enforcing measures that will help to keep the public safe. Trust depends on transparency. If governments appear to be concealing the truth or withholding information, their credibility can quickly crumble.

Nigeria’s transparency in fighting coronavirus has been in question since the first outbreak of the disease on 28th February 2020.

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been consistent in publishing the number of new cases recorded on daily basis, as well as the number of deaths and recovery but in the beginning, it was beyond this. The agency started by detailing new cases with the origin of the individual that contracted the virus, their movement and latest information on them but as more cases are  recorded, they dropped this information.

A sample of their first announcement of the first case reads: The case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020. He was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.


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The questions on the level of transparency by The Nigerian government in the fight against the pandemic started when it was rumoured that  the country has recorded its first death of coronavirus. The story was first published by The Punch Newspapers but was later deleted and was announced days later by the NCDC which forced the citizens to begin to question how open the agency has been in the fight and if there are more that are being hidden intentionally and why?

Another case was when it was rumoured that The Chief of Staff of the Nigerian president, Abba Kyari, has tested positive for coronavirus, following his recent visit to some of the countries with the worse cases. Later on that evening, the NCDC published an update on the cases recorded with “one case in Abuja” without stating, as has been the case, who the person is, which further fueled the question of transparency and started the rumour of how safe the country’s leader, President Muhammadu Buhari is following his closeness to His chief of staff.

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Recently, it was reported that before the death of the second person who died of the disease in Nigeria, he visited Imo state on his return to Nigeria from visits to the UK, Italy and US which are some of the hottest areas of the virus but till date the NCDC is yet to release any statement regarding his movement and is being accused of shielding the case and covering up possible viral cases within Owerri and Mbaise.

Another point of accusation on the agency’s transparency is the donation being made by some individuals and businesses in Nigeria which as at today is over 21 billion Naira. The Federal government still laments on lack of funds to purchase ventilators and testing kits for the virus.

The Federal Ministry of Finance was recently embroid in a show of shame after their twitter handle sent out a tweet to Tesla founder, Elon Musk asking for support in the acquisition of new ventilators and testing kits, leading to a public questioning on what all the donations Nigerians have been making so far is being used for and how it’s being managed?

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An environment of opacity and suspicion has made the Nigerian government into its own worst enemy and aggravated what Nigerian officials seemingly fear: that Nigerians could suspect they are covering up the real scale of infections.

Nigerian government and the NCDC may have nothing to hide at all. Thus far, there is no evidence of an orchestrated cover-up of infections. Nigeria government responded faster and more aggressively than other African countries and even the US and UK, by speeding up contact tracing, shutting schools and universities and even religious activities. The government has halted political fights with the opposition parties and seem to be more focused on getting the country back to normal and putting an end to the spread of the disease.

Moreover, no country can claim a perfect response – the scientific consensus about the virus is still emerging and nobody yet knows how much devastation it will ultimately wreak. Nigeria could have acknowledged that most countries undoubtedly have more infections than confirmed numbers because testing is still limited.

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The UK itself is contending with two dramatically different models: one from Imperial College London researchers, who argue the country is still early in its fight with the virus and another from researchers at Oxford University, which suggests that as much as half the population (over 30 million people) may have already been infected. In the absence of data about the virus, such models are partly reliant on assumption and speculation.

Indeed, its persistent aversion to transparency has led many observers and foreign governments to view most official claims with a degree of suspicion.

Recently, an army general was dismissed from his post leading the fight against Boko Haram when a video surfaced on social media showing the general lamenting on the killing of his men by the terrorists which is, according to him as a result of insufficient arms and ammunition and being obviously overpowered by the insurgents who are well equipped with superior firearms.


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Not only was the government’s response harmful, it was also unnecessary. After the news broke and went viral, the government released a statement on improvement in supplies of arms and adequately equipping the soldiers to clear out the terrorists. But the damage to its reputation had already been done and would last for years.

It’s the same story with coronavirus. The government would do far better by responding transparently to concerns and being open about the measures it is taking. During a pandemic, transparency is not a liberal luxury, but a vital feature of effective governance.

Plateau killing: Buhari vows to hunt down killers

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that those responsible for the communal violence in the northern Plateau state will not be spared.

President Buhari recently held a closed-door meeting with Governor Nyesome of Rivers state as regards the recent activities of the Niger Delta Avengers
President Muhammadu Buhari

Police said at least 86 people died in clashes between farmers and nomadic herders but unofficial figures put the number at more than 100.

A curfew has been imposed in affected areas to prevent further violence.

The clashes began on Thursday when a group of herders was attacked, prompting retaliatory killings on Saturday.

Police said 50 houses had also been burnt down.

A BBC correspondent in Lagos says the region is prone to religious tension – herders are mostly Muslim, while the farmers are mainly Christian.

Governors Who Visited Buhari in London All Smiles As They Arrive Nigeria (Photos)

 

State governors who visited Buhari in London alongside his official photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo have landed in the country safely.
7 governors who travelled to London to visit Nigeria’s ailing President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday have returned after meeting with him at the Abuja House.

They were welcomed by their aides and supporters at the airport with journalist lurking around for brief interviews.

Pictures of the State governors of the People’s Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress with Buhari littered the social media space yesterday thereby quelling rumours that the President was dead.

The governors were led by Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara and included governors of Ebonyi, Kano, Benue, Akwa Ibom, and Oyo.

The visit comes a few days after some APC leaders and governors visited the president on Sunday.

Mr. Buhari had on that July 23 met with the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some governors elected on the party’s platform.

See photos:





APC will leave for 200 years - Buhari's aid declares

APC will rule Nigeria for 200 years – Buhari’s aid declares

Okoi Obono-Obla, the special Assistant to the President on prosecution, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) will exist for 200 years.

Obono-Obla said this after presenting his book entitled ‘APC: The Making of a Change Agent’ to John Oyegun, national chairman of the ruling party at the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja.

He said the party has done well and will continue to remain in power.

“I said in the next 200 years, APC will be alive. Yes, why not? Because we have done very well and we are going to remain in power as long as long as we continue to do well, we believe Nigerian people will always vote for us,” he said.

He also defended the invasion of the office of The Sun publishing limited by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).



“EFCC has not gone after the media. What happened is that The Sun Newspaper was under an order of interim forfeiture, so they went there to look at the property is not taken away and not depreciated, and nothing is wrong with that,” he said.

“They didn’t go there because the Sun published a news story that is considered against EFCC or government, they went there to do their work as part of their mandate to fight financial crimes, and you know that the media house is owned by a former governor who is under trial, as we are talking now is under trial and if you are under investigation, EFCC has the power to go to court and get an order interim forfeiture pending the hearing of the case against you.”

Vincent Ogbulafor, former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had said the party would rule Nigeria for 60 years.

Nigeria anti-government protest #IStandWithNigeria

A nationwide protest against the federal government of Nigeria today February, 6 which was announced by music star 2baba Idibia, is currently going on in National stadium, Surulere Lagos and in a small scal in Abuja, the FCT.

#IStandWithNigeria

The protest was earlier championed by the musician but on Saturday, February 4; he released a video saying he was cancelling the protest due to security concern.

The singer said the protest was never his creation but a call to action to speak up for his people.

In spite of the cancellation, some Nigerians vowed to continue with the protest.

In Lagos, the protesters are expected to march from National Stadium in Surulere to the National Theatre, Iganmu, a distance of about four kilometres.

The protest is also set to take place simultaneously in Abuja, Enugu and Port Harcourt, among other major cities.

The Bloomgist will be bringing you live updates of the protest.

Nigeria’s government stops salaries for ex-leaders for over 10 months

Nigeria’s government has failed to pay the country’s ex-leaders their monthly salaries and Continue reading “Nigeria’s government stops salaries for ex-leaders for over 10 months”

Buhari declares war on those against his ant-graft fight

President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration will go all out on those who try to prevent the on-going fight against corruption.

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The president made this known when he played host to physically challenged, the Internally Displaced Persons, taxi drivers, commercial motorcycle riders, artisans such as butchers, hairdressers, barbers, tailors, members of the Buhari Support Organisation, President’s neighbours in Lobito Crescent, and junior workers in the headquarters of the All Progressives Congress, inside the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

According to him, anybody who attempts to stop his administration from fighting corruption would suffer the consequences, The Punch reports.

Buhari, who spoke in English and Hausa languages handed down the warning during the breaking of Ramadan fast, he organised for his guests.

President Buhari serves food to a physical challenged woman at the event
President Buhari serves food to a physical challenged woman at the event

Woman arrested for cutting baby’s penis off

A 22-year-old woman, Bara’atu Rabiu, has been remanded in the Minna Medium Security Prison for allegedly cutting off the penis of her rival’s one-month-old baby, Buhari. Continue reading “Woman arrested for cutting baby’s penis off”