The Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, yesterday faulted Monday’s presidential statement querying the legality of the governors’ ban on open grazing.
Akeredolu, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant, Special Duties and Strategies, Dr. Doyin Odebowale, said Shehu could not be representing the presidency with his positions on issues of national concern.
He said: “Anyone who has been following the utterances of this man (Shehu), as well as his fellow travellers on the self-deluding, mendacious but potentially dangerous itinerary to anarchy cannot but conclude that he works, assiduously, for extraneous interests whose game plan stands at variance with the expectations of genuine lovers of peaceful coexistence among all the peoples whose ethnic extractions are indigenous to Nigeria.”
He added: “Shehu cannot continue to hide under some opaque, omnibus and dubious directives to create confusion in the polity.
“The declaration that the recommendations of the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, a mere political appointee like Garba Shehu, are now the ‘lasting solutions,’ which eluded all the elected representatives of the people of the Southern part of the country, exposes this man as a pitiable messenger who does not seem to understand the limits of his relevance and charge.
“Mr. Garba contends that ‘their announcement is of questionable legality’, referring to the 17 governors of the Southern states, but the decision of certain elements to take the ancestral lands of other people to settle their kinsmen, including the ‘gun-wielding ‘killer herdsmen’ and their families, and provide ‘veterinary clinics, water points for animals, and facilities for herders and their families, including schooling through these rehabilitated reserves’ for which ‘the federal government is making far-reaching and practical changes allowing for different communities to co-exist side-by-side’, does not appear to him as a comprehensive plan for land grabbing, a precursor to internal colonialism.”
Akeredolu said Shehu wanted to revive forest reserves “but seems particularly uninterested in the current position of the same law that he and his cohorts often misinterpret to serve parochialism and greed.”
“Governors no longer have powers over the lands in their territories. They must take instructions from appointees of the federal government on such matters,” he stated.
While noting the rights of all Nigerians to move freely in all parts of the country as guaranteed by the constitution, Akeredolu said it was clear that Shehu seemed to have issues understanding the difference between licentious criminality and qualified rights under the law.
He said: “It is our duty to continually nudge him off his current state of cognitive dissonance. His pronouncement betrays dubiousness and mischief.
“Most traditional families in Nigeria have occupations. Pastoralism is not an exception. Any ethnic group still trapped in anachronism may be assisted to embrace modernity.
“Dispossessing communities of their ancestral lands, encouraging denizens of the forests to overrun lands belonging to other people and forcing alien bands of migrants on the local populace to live ‘side-by-side’ with other communities cannot be for the purpose of animal husbandry.
“It raises suspicion on a grand, deliberate, persistent and insidious design to use naked force to subjugate the real owners of the land. Mr. Garba Shehu is a major supporter of the current pervasive anarchy in the land.
“May, we warn Mr. Garba Shehu and his cohorts to desist from hurling insults at the elected representatives of the people. He lacks the authority to make policy statements for the federal government, unless directed, expressly. His acts are clearly those of an agent provocateur.
“No inch of the space delineated and known, currently, as South-west, and indeed the whole South, will be ceded to a band of invaders masquerading as herdsmen under any guise.”
Kenya Receives $750 Million Loan from World Bank to Boost Economic Recovery
Kenya has received a $750 million loan from the World Bank to support its budget and help the East African economy recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the multilateral lender said on Friday.
The Kenyan government has been pushing hard to secure foreign funding to fill a wide budget deficit before its financial year closes at the end of this month.
The $750 million disbursement is part of World Bank’s Development Policy Operations (DPO), which lends cash for budget support instead of financing specific projects.
The bank said some of the funds would go towards setting up an electronic procurement system for government goods and services to improve transparency.
The World Bank said the concessional loan will have a 3.1% annual interest rate. Typically, World Bank loans have zero or very low interest rates and have repayment periods of 25 to 40 years, with a five- or 10-year grace period.
On Thursday, Finance Minister Ukur Yatani presented to parliament the 2021/22 budget, with a deficit of 7.5% of gross domestic product, reduced from 8.7% for the current fiscal year ending this month.
The finance ministry forecasts a economic growth of 6.6% this year, recovering from 0.6% in 2020 when sectors like tourism and related services collapsed due to restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The World Bank forecasts Kenya’s economy will grow 4.5% this year, and 4.7% in 2022.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who took the helm in 2013, has overseen a jump in public borrowing. Total debt stands at 70% of GDP, up from about 45% when he took over – a surge that some politicians and economists say is saddling future generations with too much debt.
The government has defended the increased borrowing, saying the country must invest in its infrastructure, including roads and railways.
FG Spends N612.7 Billion on Domestic Debt Servicing in Q1 2021
The latest report from the Debt Management Office (DMO) has revealed that the Federal Government spent a total sum of N612.71 billion on domestic debt servicing in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021.
In the report released on Wednesday, the DMO said the Federal Government paid holders of mature Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTB) N17.23 billion in January, N12.3 billion in February and N5.49 billion in March 2021. Indicating that the Federal Government paid a combined sum of N35.03 billion to NTB holders in Q1 2021.
Similarly, the Federal Government paid N537.783 billion to holders of Federal Government of Nigeria bonds in three instalments of N201.95 billion in January, N79.26 billion in February and N256.58 billion in March 2021.
The Federal Government also paid N308.38 million in three tranches to subscribers of mature FGN Savings Bond. FG paid N111.65 million in January, N97.074 million in February and N99.65 million in March 2021.
Another N8.16 billion was used to settle FGN Sukuk Rentals in March 2021. No payment was made in January and February 2021.
The Federal Government released N31.44 billion as principal repayment “in respect of promissory notes during the quarter under review.
A monthly breakdown revealed that a total sum of N219.29 billion was released to service domestic debts in January, N123.09 billion in February and N270.33 billion in March. Therefore, bringing the total amount spent on domestic debt servicing in the first quarter of 2021 to N612.71 billion.
Nigeria’s total debt rose to N33.1 trillion in the first quarter of 2021, according to the report released by the DMO.
Togo, Niger, Others to Acquire Nigeria’s Idle Electricity
Four West African nations are collaborating to acquire unutilised power produced in Nigeria, stated Sule Abdulaziz, the Chairman of the Executive Board of the West African Power Pool (WAPP).
Abdulaziz, who doubled as the acting Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, listed the four West African nations as Niger, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso.
He said the nations were collaborating to make the purchase via the Northcore Power Transmission Line presently under construction.
Abdulaziz disclosed this at the WAPP meeting held on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said, “The power we will be selling is the power that is not needed in Nigeria.
“The electricity generators that are going to supply power to this transmission line are going to generate that power specifically for this project. So, it is unutilised power.”
The WAPP chairman said the country was expecting new generators to take part in the energy export for the 875km 330KV Northcore transmission line from Nigeria through Niger, Togo, Benin to Burkina Faso.
Abdulaziz said, “In addition, there are some communities that are under the line route, about 611 of them, which will be getting power so that there won’t be just a transmission line passing without impact.”
He further stated that the project, financed by the World Bank, French Development Council and the African Development Bank, had recorded progress, saying that the energy ministers would be addressing security issues for the project at another meeting in Abuja.
He added that “Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these countries because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian Gencos (generation companies).”
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