- FG’s Economic Model Can’t Work, Says Sanusi
The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll, on Wednesday, faulted the present administration’s economic model, saying it would not work.
Sanusi, who spoke at the Kaduna State Economic Summit in Kaduna, the state capital, also berated northern leaders, saying the North-West and the North-East remained the poorest parts of the world.
Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said the Federal Government was borrowing unsustainably.
He noted that currently, Nigeria was spending 66 per cent of its revenues to pay interests on debts, saying such a model would not work.
Sanusi stated, “The Federal Government of Nigeria is spending 66 per cent of its revenues on interests on debts, which means only 34 per cent of revenues is available for capital and recurrent expenditures.
“That model cannot work. If you look at the 2017 budget of the Federal Government, I sometimes wonder what Nigerian economists are doing? In the 2017 budget presented by the Federal Government, the amount earmarked for debt servicing is in excess of the entire non-oil revenue of the Federal Government, but that is not the problem. The problem is that it is a budget that is even going for more debts.”
He wondered when the Federal Government would stop borrowing if the government was spending 66 per cent of its revenues to pay interests on debts.
The emir said government at all levels should realise that borrowing had reached its limit and should therefore look for ways to attract investments.
“Growth can only come from investments. It cannot come from consumption. It cannot come from government balance sheet. It cannot come from borrowing because you cannot borrow unsustainably,” he said.
…faults loan from China
Sanusi also faulted the Federal Government on its plan to borrow money from China.
The monarch added, “We have governors; they go to China and spend one month on a tour and what do they come back with, MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) on debts.
“China will lend you $1.8bn to build light rail. This light rail will be done by the rail workers from China. The trains will come from China. The engines will come from China. The labour comes from China. The driver is Chinese.
“At the end of the day, what do you benefit from it? Your citizen will ride on a train and when you ride on a train, in northern Nigeria, in a state like Kano or Katsina, where are you going to? You are not going to an industrial estate to work. You are not going to school? You are not going to the farm. You borrow money from China to invest in trains so that your citizens can ride on them and go for weddings and naming ceremonies.”
North-West, North-East the poorest parts of the world –Emir
He stated that the North-West and the North-East would have been the poorest in the world, if they were a nation.
Sanusi added, “We are living in denial. The North-West and the North-East, demographically, constitute the bulk of Nigeria’s population, but look at human development indices, look at the number of children out of school, look at adult literacy, look at maternal mortality, look at infant mortality, look at girl-child completion rate, look at income per capita, the North-East and the North-West Nigeria, are among the poorest parts of the world.
“As far back as 2000, I looked at the numbers, Borno and Yobe states, UNDP figures: Borno and Yobe states, if they were a country on their own, were poorer than Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
“Nobody saw this because we were looking at Nigeria as a country that averages the oil-rich Niger Delta, the industrial and commercial-rich Lagos, the commercially viable South-East, and you have an average.
“Break Nigeria into its component parts, and these parts of the country are among the poorest, if it were a country. And we do not realise we are in trouble.”
Sanusi said for the region to leap forward developmentally, it must fix it social and religious problems.
He pointed out that women and children must be loved, not beaten, adding that the region must do away with the 13th century mindset of religion and culture.
Sanusi stated, “Other Muslim nations have pushed forward girl-child education, they’ve pushed forward science and technology. They have pushed forward the arts. We have this myth in northern Nigeria, where we try to create an Islamic society that never existed.”
He added that the northern Muslims had adopted an interpretation of culture and religion that was rooted in the 13th century mindset, which refused to recognise that the rest of the Muslim world had moved on.
He recalled that books, preaching love, were being burnt in northern Nigeria, calling for a better interpretation of Islamic views so that better life could be provided for women and the girl-child.
Sanusi stated, “We need to understand the roots of the problem of northern Nigeria. Burning books, it happened in Kano. What is the crime of those books? They were writing about (love), and love apparently is supposed to be a bad word.
“In a society where you don’t love your women and you don’t love your children, you allow them to beg, you beat up your women, why should anyone talk about love?
“We have adopted an interpretation of our culture and our religion that is rooted in the 13th century mindset that refuses to recognise that the rest of the Muslim world has moved on.
“Today in Malaysia, you wake up and divorce your wife; that is fine. But you give her 50 per cent of all the wealth you acquired since you married her. It is a Muslim country. In Nigeria, you wake up after 20 years of marriage, you say to your wife, ‘I divorce you’, and that’s it.
“Other Muslim nations have pushed forward girl-child education; they’ve pushed forward science and technology. They have pushed forward the arts. We have this myth in northern Nigeria, where we try to create an Islamic society that never existed.
“We are fighting culture, we are fighting civilisation. We must wage an intellectual war, because Islam is not univocal. There are many voices, there are many interpretations, there are many viewpoints, and we have for too long allow the ascendancy of the most conservative viewpoints. The consequences of that are that there are certain social problems.”
…knocks Yari over comments on meningitis
Sanusi also knocked the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, on his comments on meningitis, which has killed no fewer than 200 persons in the state.
The governor had, on Tuesday, blamed the deaths from meningitis attack on the sins of the people against God.
But Sanusi said he was pained that a governor should make such an outrageous statement when he was supposed to look for vaccines to stop the deaths.
“I’m sorry about a current issue yesterday (Tuesday). Two hundred people died of meningitis in a state, the governor was asked and he said it was God’s curse on us for the sin of fornication, which does not happen in America, which is why they don’t have meningitis,” he said.
The monarch, who has a degree in Islamic Law, added that such a statement shouldn’t have come from the governor, insisting that he(Yari) should have treated those who had contracted the disease.
He lamented that while Nigerians were thinking of how to come out of the economic recession, the executive and National Assembly were busy fighting each other on political issues.
Sanusi stated, “If you have been reading and watching the news for the last one month, the big and concerned news politically is about leadership but unfortunately, the conversation is not about electricity, infrastructure, education, health care.
“All the conversations are about the National Assembly, the executive, the judiciary, conflict between this politician and that politician as well as confirmation of the EFCC boss.”
Appealing to politicians, he said, “Let us stop playing politics and talk about education and health care. When we get to late 2018, you stop working and politicise, we will understand that, but for now, it is too early. You can’t be in politics for four years.”
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, berated the nation’s political class at the event that attracted captains of industry both from within and without.
2023 Voter’s Registration Will Be Online, Biometric To Be Captured Physically- INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday unfolded plans to allow online filing during the continuous voter registration for the 2023 general election.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye, however, said only the biometric would be captured physically by INEC officials.
But the commission suffered another setback yesterday as arsonists torched its office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State.
Okoye, during a stakeholders’ meeting on expanding voter access to polling units in Kano yesterday, said: “On June 28, the voter registration exercise for those above 18 years and those who have not registered before will commence with two new innovations. Those versatile with computer can register online and only visit a registration centre to capture their biometrics.”
Okoye stated that the online registration would be introduced to reduce crowd at registration centres in line with COVID-19 protocols.
The commission called on citizens, especially those willing to contest elections, whose voter cards have been defaced, whose names were wrongly spelt or addresses and locations wrongly captured to present themselves for authentication or correction.
INEC also called for valid data of all those with disabilities or physical challenges to be captured during the continuous registration for proper projections ahead of the 2023 general election.
INEC also warned political parties and politicians who have started campaigning to desist from doing so.
Okoye said: “There is a ban on political campaigns which has not been lifted yet. And I find it necessary to draw your attention for you to understand the legal implication of violating this ban.
“I have listened to comments on radio stations, which are capable of heating the polity. Media organisations should avoid providing platforms for such comments. The media should try to curtail such tensions.
“Political parties, politicians and their supporters should understand there is a legal framework for campaigns and it has not commenced yet.”
No Plans To Relocate AFRICOM HQ To Nigeria Or Any Part Of Africa- U.S. Replies Buhari
The United States has said there is no plan to relocate its Africa Command from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any other part of Africa despite the worsening state of insecurity in the region.
The US gave the response barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.
The President made the plea in a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.
Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.
Buhari’s request followed a series of recent military casualties in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against Boko Haram terrorists, fresh expansion of the insurgents’ bases to Niger and Nasarawa States, and heavy waves of abductions and killings by bandits in the North.
Buhari said, “The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.
“Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes.
“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.
“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”
However, the US government on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.
According to the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is very huge.
In an emailed response to The PUNCH, the Pentagon said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.
This newspaper had asked if the US would consider Nigeria’s request to relocate AFRICOM to the continent.
“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms. Cindi King, said.
King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defence review.
She said, “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment. In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.
“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements. The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”
It’s ‘near impossible’ for America to accept Buhari’s invitation –Campbell, ex-US ambassador
Meanwhile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has listed reasons why it is “unlikely or near impossible” for the US government to relocate AFRICOM from Stuttgart in Germany to Nigeria or any part of the continent.
He said aside from the fact that the cost of doing so is very huge, the Nigerian military had proved to be a difficult partner for the US over the years.
China Urges U.N. States Not to Attend Xinjiang Event Next Week
China has urged United Nations member states not to attend an event planned next week by Germany, the United States and Britain on the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang, according to a note seen by Reuters on Friday.
“It is a politically-motivated event,” China’s U.N. mission wrote in the note, dated Thursday. “We request your mission NOT to participate in this anti-China event.”
China charged that the organizers of the event, which also include several other European states along with Australia and Canada, use “human rights issues as a political tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs like Xinjiang, to create division and turbulence and disrupt China’s development.”
“They are obsessed with provoking confrontation with China,” the note said, adding that “the provocative event can only lead to more confrontation.”
The Chinese mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ambassadors of the United States, Germany and Britain are due to address the virtual U.N. event on Wednesday, along with Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth and Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.
The aim of the event is to “discuss how the U.N. system, member states and civil society can support and advocate for the human rights of members of ethnic Turkic communities in Xinjiang,” according to an invitation.
Western states and rights groups have accused authorities in Xinjiang of detaining and torturing Uyghurs in camps, which the United States has described as genocide. In January, Washington banned the import of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang over allegations of forced labor.
Beijing denies the accusations and describes the camps as vocational training centers to combat religious extremism.
“Beijing has been trying for years to bully governments into silence but that strategy has failed miserably, as more and states step forward to voice horror and revulsion at China’s crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims,” Human Rights Watch U.N. director Louis Charbonneau said on Friday.
News4 weeks ago
COVID-19: Nirsal Microfinance Bank (NMFB) Loan – Covid19.nmfb.com.ng
Cryptocurrency4 weeks ago
Cryptocurrency Traders Can Now Trade Stocks on Binance
E-commerce4 weeks ago
China Fines Alibaba Record $2.8 Billion After Monopoly Probe
Social Media4 weeks ago
Lack of Basic Amenities, Unclear Growth Policy Force Twitter to Ghana, Builds Headquarters in Ghana
Bitcoin4 weeks ago
Bitcoin Sets a New Record High at $63,000 on Tuesday
Billionaire Watch1 week ago
Ethereum Co-Founder Becomes The Youngest Crypto Billionaire As ETH Hits $3K
Cryptocurrency4 weeks ago
Rap Icon Nas Could Net $100M When Coinbase Lists on Nasdaq
Government4 weeks ago
SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances