- Presidency Alleges Plot to Divide Buhari, Osinbajo
The presidency yesterday raised the alarm over an alleged plot to cause a division between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
It said that the government would not allow those it described as mischief makers to have their way. “Some people are trying to promote division and we are not going to allow that. This president and vice president worked together in tandem and we know they both have confidence in this nation,” the presidency said.
Reacting to trending discussions in the polity with some Nigerians comparing Buhari and Osinbajo, Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Babafemi Ojodu said the development was the handiwork of those who do not wish the country well.
“It is thoughtless. I also see it as a ploy by the opposition to cause an unnecessary division. It is a joint ticket, the president and the vice president were elected based on the manifesto of the party and since they were sworn in, they have been committed to implementing that manifesto.
“The same people who said we never had an economic team, no policy, nothing are the ones saying this. It is the policies we are now implementing and they are seeing the result. It is not a question of one person being better than the other person.
“There is nothing that has been done since the vice president started acting that is not something that started far back in the past. “A good example is the Niger Delta initiative. The president called the vice president and said I am giving you the mandate, go into the Niger Delta, meet with everyone who is a stakeholder, all the communities, talk to the militants and make sure you solve this problem for the benefit of Nigerians.
“We are losing 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, all the gas pipelines powering the turbines are being blown up. And the president has said unless and until we resolve this problem we will not get out of recession. The VP took up the mandate and went to the Niger Delta, it is the initiative of the president not that of the vice president,” Ojodu said.
According to the presidential aide, these “mischief makers” were responsible for the crisis in the polity and promotion of divisive tendencies, a development that would deny Nigerians the opportunity to benefit from the dividends of democracy.
Ojodu said Osinbajo “consults the president on a daily basis” concerning major decisions. “This is a joint ticket, the president of Nigeria remains the president of Nigeria. He is more experienced, he has been in the game longer than the vice president and if there are major issues that he needs to take decision on, he could call on him and say ‘sir, what do you think about this, we are about to take a decision on it’, that does not mean he is not in charge.”
Some of the changes that have taken place since Osinbajo became the acting president include a rapid return of peace to the Niger Delta due to his visits and parleys in the region. These visits have seen to the cessation of hostilities, thereby paving the way for the availability of gas that has improved electricity supply. Under Osinbajo, the foreign exchange crisis is being tackled with the naira appreciating from N520 to about N420 to a dollar yesterday. Unlike Buhari who neither commented nor took a decisive action to rein in killer herdsmen, Osinbajo quickly summoned the Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris when there were fresh killings in southern Kaduna.
On timing of the changes taking place, when the president is on an extended vacation in the United Kingdom (UK), the aide said: “One other thing you have to see is that if you give someone a responsibility, he must be able to show to the president that his not being around is not going to create any vacuum.
“He can then decide not to sleep at all, all through the time the president is away just to show him that he is capable of ensuring that Nigeria goes on well while the president is away. And the president could also have given the mandate that the vice president should let nothing go wrong. You must make sure that you do this. If you have a boss who gives you an assignment, you will want to impress him and Nigerians as well and that for me is what has happened. It is not that one person is better than the other, certainly not.”
Ojodu said he had seen some things sent out intentionally to cause some kind of division within the presidency. “Some people who have been condemning everybody in the past, I see them on twitter and on facebook and generally on social media.”
Reacting to clerics in Katsina allegedly propagating information on the president being poisoned, Ojodu urged reporters to be mindful of their choice of stories from the social media, as the channels, according to him, are becoming factory for fake news in Nigeria.
“A lot of things you see on social media can never be true. I saw them, I read them and I assessed them using the prism of these factors, those indices we use to analyse stories in the media and found out that they cannot be true.
“For example they said somebody kept N77 trillion somewhere, imagine that. What is the total value of Nigeria’s economy? Because somebody is keeping N77 trillion, some people want to poison him so that they can inherit the money. I mean we have a president whose integrity nobody in this country can question.”
According to Ojodu, “as a young officer, a middle officer, a senior officer and as a head of state till now, nobody has been able to tarnish Buhari’s image or come up with anything. For me, it is not even worth responding to, as soon as I read it, I dismissed it, it is so ridiculous.”
COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.
In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.
According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.
“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”
The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.
“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”
Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom
Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.
The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.
He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.
The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.
The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.
“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.
“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.
“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.
“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.
Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.
“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”
He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.
“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.
“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.
“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.
US Intelligence Says ISIS and Al-Qaeda Are Planning to Attack Southern Nigeria
The United States has warned the Federal Government of Nigeria that Al-Qaeda and ISIS are planning to attack Southern Nigeria.
This was disclosed by Dagvin Anderson, the Commander of the US special operations command, Africa.
According to Dagvin Anderson, AlQaeda is planning to expand into the Southern part of Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.
He, however, said the US will continue to share intelligence with Nigeria.
“We have engaged with Nigeria and continue to engage with them in intel sharing and in understanding what these violent extremists are doing,” he said.
“And that has been absolutely critical to their engagements up in the Borno state and into an emerging area of northwest Nigeria that we’re seeing al-Qaeda starting to make some inroads in.
“So, this intelligence sharing is absolutely vital and we stay fully engaged with the government of Nigeria to provide them with an understanding of what these terrorists are doing, what Boko Haram is doing, what ISIS-West Africa is doing, and how ISIS and al-Qaeda are looking to expand further south into the littoral areas.
Anderson regretted that despite successes recorded in previous years, there has been a setback, adding: “We as a community of international nations, keep thinking we have defeated them or we have put them on their back foot and that they’re just moments from disintegration.” Anderson said for international efforts to yield desired results in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria, the government must take the lead.
“When it comes to Nigeria in general, Nigeria, obviously, is a critical nation to West Africa. It is a critical nation and we realise that Nigeria is a lynchpin,” he said.
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