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After Grim Economic Data, Buhari Appeals for Patience, Promises Real Change

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Buhari

Following the grim economic data released on Wednesday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) confirming Nigeria’s slide into recession, rising inflation, unemployment and plummeting foreign capital importation, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with his administration, assuring them that the pains they are currently going through would soon give way to development.

Buhari, who reminded Nigerians that his administration’s “change” mantra was aimed at restoring the nation on the path of integrity and prosperity, said this in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, during the inauguration of the Osogbo Government High School built by the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

The president urged Nigerians to be patient and persevere for a while, promising that the pains would soon give way to development.

He said his administration was working hard to avoid the mistakes of the last administration in tackling insecurity and corruption and to revamp the economy, which has been badly affected by the drop in the price of oil, reported the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Buhari said: “We promised Nigerian people positive and progressive change during our campaign. We are not and shall not be deterred from that noble undertaking.
“But as we have learnt from history, change has never been attained by any nation on a bed of roses, but rather through patience, perseverance and steadfastness.

“We are quite aware of the pains and inconveniences that have been the lot of the citizenry in the past one year as we strive to faithfully implement our programmes in fulfilment of our change agenda.

“We are however comforted by the real change and progress we have made in fighting corruption and restoring integrity to government; providing security for lives and property; and positioning the government for effectiveness and especially deregulating the oil sector.

“We must also not forget the fiscal discipline that has now characterised government business at all levels. This indeed is how it should be and we are determined to introduce and implement actions and measures that will entrench the change mantra in our individual lives, just as we are doing in curtailing excessive waste and rent seeking in governance.

“We are determined to remain on track as we strive to deliver to rescue the country from past mistakes in fulfilment of our promise of improving the conditions of our people and making Nigeria a prosperous country.”

Also rising in defence of the administration, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said yesterday that the country’s economy under Buhari could not be equated to the reckless fiscal policies that were the vogue when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in office.

Reacting to the call by the PDP for Buhari to resign on account of the dire economic situation, APC blamed the present state of affairs on the reckless policies of the previous administration.

APC assured Nigerians that the Buhari-led administration was solidly committed to resuscitating the economy in the quickest possible time and in the best interest of the people.

A statement by the National Secretary of the APC, Hon. Mai Mala Buni, criticised the PDP for trying to divert the attention of Nigerians from the genuine efforts being made by government.

“The statement by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday was the latest in the party’s insensitive plot to deflect attention from the voodoo economics and reckless fiscal policies the country was subjected to during its 16-year rule.

“For the umpteenth time, the PDP lacks the moral basis and credibility to comment or condemn the government on the economy after the mess it left behind. Instead, the PDP must apologise to Nigerians.

“The warning signs were glaring to the immediate-past administration but it chooses the path of economic sabotage by looking the other way and squandering the country’s commonwealth – a reckless decision that has brought the country to its knees.

“Nigerians will recall that even the immediate-past Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, confessed that the zero political will to save under the immediate-past administration was responsible for the challenges facing the country.

“Happily, the President Buhari administration has embarked on a well-thought economic agenda, policy actions, appropriate fiscal governance, and socio-political reforms to revamp the economy and tackle the nation’s current challenges in the short to long term.

“Under the new flexible foreign exchange policy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2016, we now have a single market-determined exchange rate which enables suppliers of foreign currencies to bring in their money and take the same out at market-determined rates.

“The new foreign exchange policy being implemented will ensure our economy recovers in the medium to long term.

“As contained in the assented 2016 National Budget, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is aggressively formulating and implementing policies aimed at diversifying Nigeria’s economy from oil to other sectors such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing.

“The administration is also proactively tackling increased attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region which has led to disruptions in crude production,” it observed.

The party noted that in line with the critical infrastructure focus of the Buhari administration, it voted an unprecedented 30 per cent of the 2016 budget to capital projects.

“As the administration works assiduously to build a new solid foundation, credible image and pull the country out of the present hardships, the APC appeals for patience and cooperation from Nigerians,” he said.

The ruling party also announced that it had constituted a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the Gombe State chapter of the party.

A statement by Mai Mala Buni said that it had accepted the resignation of Mr. Karu Ishaya and Mr. Sallau Manu Pindiga as the state deputy chairman and secretary, respectively.

The party also said that it had decided to relieve Muhammad Magaji Doho and Dauda Manu of their positions as state chairman and state legal adviser, respectively.

The caretaker committee is headed by Hon. Lawan Shetima with Alhaji Sule Yakubu as state secretary.

Also, the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, said yesterday that the way out of the economic downturn is for Nigeria to expand its economy and make it more competitive.

The governor, who spoke to journalists at the APC national secretariat in Abuja, shortly after being inaugurated to chair the committee of the Ondo State governorship primary, said the present hardship would have been averted if past leaders had started cutting their expenditure and import bill to save for tomorrow.

“The problem with the past leaders was they should have started cutting expenditure. For instance, what Obasanjo did with cement was good. We stopped importation of cement into Nigeria. Why do we have to import rice, why do we have to import maize, why do we have to import wheat? Why do we have to import milk?

“At the time the going was good, the government was supposed to have given credible intervention like what Obasanjo did with the cement to encourage the production of rice,” he said.

Also commenting on the nation’s economy, the former governor of Kaduna State and the Caretaker of Committee Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, advised Buhari to assemble an economic team, irrespective of party affiliations to find a solution to the present economic situation in the country.

Makarfi, who spoke in ‎an interview in Kaduna yesterday, said there was need for all hands to be on deck to find solutions to the economic hardship facing the country.

“We are all Nigerians, we must know that things are tough today. I read a letter written by Cardinal Olubunmi Okojie to the president in the newspapers expressing the same concern.

“This is not an issue for one political party alone. Long before that letter, and as a matter of fact, before the president was sworn into office and to be candid, my personal belief was that the country was facing a serious problem and that we were heading into more serious problems.

“So all hands needed to be on deck. There is a time to play politics, and there is a time, whether you are the party in government or not, we should not play politics with certain issues,” Makarfi said.

Making further reference to Okojie’s letter to Buhari, Makarfi said: “If the economy is bad, it is the political class that is to be blamed.‎”

He was of the opinion that other than the political class, the military, which was in power for several years, should also share part of the blame, “because they did a lot of damage to the system”.

He said: “Let us own up to the wrong we have done and let us collectively repent and come together for the sake of the ordinary man and woman and even those that are not ordinary and save our nation from economic doom.‎”
He said working together to salvage the country “doesn’t mean we should become a one party state and it doesn’t mean we should agree on political matters, but we should realise that the country’s survival is foremost”.‎

He said he shared the views expressed by Cardinal Okojie ‎in his letter to the president on the state of the nation, noting the problems of the economy were more structural and had been there for a long time, even before 1999.

“Of course, there are issues that you can reduce to the last five, seven or 10 years or so. That is why I say it is a collective thing if it is failure, because you can extend this failure to as far back as you can remember,”‎ he said.

He however stressed that this was not the time to start apportioning blames, “rather it is time to come together and salvage the country and do the needful”.

“In any case, people voted for this government, because they were dissatisfied with the last administration. If they were satisfied they would have returned all the past administration at all levels.

“Having not returned them, because people believed that things will improve with this government, it will be good to go forward and see what we can do and improve on our economy.

“It should not be seen as failure to say look, ‘the issue at hand now requires that we should come together and salvage our country’, ‎in fact it is not a sign of failure,” he said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

Makinde Directs Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest

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education

Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest, Says Governor Makinde

The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed schools across the Ibadan metropolis to resume normal activities immediately after the #EndSARS protest.

Mr Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the commissioner for education, Oyo State, disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday in Ibadan.

According to Olaleye, the directive was after a careful review of the situation in the Ibadan metropolis as promised by Governor Makinde in a state broadcast on October 20.

This was after the governor ordered the closure of all schools, private and public, in the Ibadan metropolis for three days and promised to review the situation on October 23.

Olaleye said the governor thanks the youths who have been cooperating with security operatives in the state to ensure peace and order.

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NIMC to Register, Issue 2.5 million National Identification Monthly

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NIMC enrolment

The National Identity Management Commission has said it would improve registration and issuance of the National Identification Numbers to both Nigerians and legal residents to the current 500,000 to 2.5 million per month.

Aliya Aziz, Director-General, NIMC, said this was the commission’s renewed commitment towards the provision of identity services to the nation.

He gave the assurance while playing host to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who was on an official visit to the commission’s head office in Abuja.

Aziz said in a statement issued in Abuja by the Head, Corporate Communication, NIMC, Kayode Adegoke, that the commission would meet and surpass the monthly target.

This, he said, would be part of the policy statements in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.

The NIMC boss told his guest that the commission had competent human resources and was looking forward to government support and intervention in injecting the much needed material resources to realise the set objectives.

Pantami charged the commission to increase and improve its performance with regards to NIN registration and issuance, as he also reiterated the target of 2.5 million monthly enrolments.

The minister told his host that the importance of digital identity in actualising the digital economy goals could not be overemphasised and commended the strides recorded by the NIMC despite limited resources.

He assured the commission of government’s support and guidance towards ensuring the fulfilment of its mandate, adding that he had initiated moves to improve staff welfare at the NIMC.

Pantami also assured the NIMC management and staff of his resolve to improve the state of the current infrastructure and equipment to enable the commission to sustain its performance.

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#EndSARS: Here is the Complete Speech of President Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari

The Complete Speech of President Muhammadu Buhari

Following the Lekki Massacre, president Muhammadu Buhari delivered the much-awaited speech. However, the speech failed to touch on the massacre or the people affected, infuriating millions of Nigerian youths that have committed so much to the struggle and lost so much.

Below is the complete speech.

“Fellow Nigerians,

It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.

As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.

On approving the termination of SARS I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.

Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.

The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a peace-maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.

All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary.

Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.

The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens, is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.

On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the well being and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society. These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths, and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:

a. paying 3-months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small- and medium- enterprises
b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission
c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans
d. guaranteeing market for the products of traders

These are in addition to many other initiatives such as:

a. Farmermoni,
b. Tradermoni,
c. Marketmoni,
d. N-Power,
e. N-Tech and
f. N-Agro.

No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.

With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force.

The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards.

In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers.

Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.

We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.

We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens, are protected.

But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.

To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgement and making hasty pronouncements.

In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.

For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.

I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions.

Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.

And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law-abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect.

Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.

I would like to thank those State Governors, traditional and religious leaders who have appealed for calm and restraint.

I also thank youth leaders who have restrained their followers from taking the law into their hands.

This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation.

Thank you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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