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Punch Newspaper to Address Buhari as Major General

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General Buhari
  • Punch Newspaper to Address Buhari as Major General

Punch Newspaper, Nigeria’s number one newspaper, on Wednesday announced it will no longer address Muhammadu Buhari as President but Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) and refer to his administration as regime until detainees freed by the court are released from the State Security Service (SSS) custody.

In the publication titled ‘Buhari’s lawlessness: Our stand‘, the newspaper said Nigerians have fought oppression and attacks under military regime but lately the country has been divided by ethnic and sectarian sentiments and further weakened by poverty.

However, “Punch will not adopt the self-defeating attitude of many Nigerians looking the other way after each violation of rights and attacks on the citizens, the courts, the press and civil society, including self-determination groups lawfully exercising their inalienable rights to peaceful dissent,” the newspaper stated.

“This regime’s actions and assaults on the courts, disobedience of court orders and arbitrary detention of citizens reflect its true character of the martial culture. Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) ran a ham-fisted military junta in 1984/85 and old habits obviously run deep.

“Until he and his repressive regime purge themselves of their martial tendency, therefore, PUNCH will not be a party to falsely adorning it with a democratic robe, hence our decision to label it for what it is – an autocratic military-style regime run by Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).”

According to Punch, Sowore, Sambo Dasuki, and Ibrahim el-Zakzakky and his wife incarceration is illegal.

“Under Buhari, the SSS has become a monstrous and repressive secret police, acting often with impunity. Buhari bears responsibility for the state of repression because, as president, he can stop it today.

“But the SSS is not alone. The Nigeria Police, whose notoriety predates Buhari’s second coming, has continued its serial abuse of human rights and is ever available to officials who routinely deploy police officers from the mundane abuse of sirens in traffic to arbitrary arrest and torture of victims. The police and military fail to understand that peaceful agitation and the right to associate are fundamental rights.

“As a symbolic demonstration of our protest against autocracy and military-style repression, PUNCH (all our print newspapers, The PUNCH, Saturday PUNCH, Sunday PUNCH, PUNCH Sports Extra, and digital platforms, most especially Punchng.com) will henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s, Major General, and refer to his administration as a regime, until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.”

Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President, Femi Adesina, immediately reacted to Punch protest.

He said: “A newspaper says it will henceforth address President Muhammadu Buhari by his military rank of Major General. Nothing untoward in it. It is a rank the President attained by dint of hard work before he retired from the Nigerian Army. And today, constitutionally, he’s also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

“All over the world, just as in our country, a large number of retired military officers are now democrats. It does not make those who didn’t pass through military service better democrats than them.

“Rather than being pejorative, addressing President Buhari by his military rank is another testimony to free speech and freedom of the press, which this administration (or regime, if anyone prefers: it’s a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve.”

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.

Economy

FG Establishes New Crime Agency, Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Established by Government

The Federal Government has approved the creation of a new crime agency called “The Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency” to better manage the loots recovered from financial criminals by the growing list of anti-graft agencies established by the government.

The new agency was approved on Wednesday at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The president said the new agency seeks to move the fight against corruption to the next level as there is no agency of government that “can give you off-head the number of landed assets, number of immovable assets, the amount in cash that are recovered by the federal government by way of interim forfeiture overweigh of a final forfeigture.”

“So, it is indeed overtime a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent.”

He added: “Next level of transparency, next level of accountability in essence, will have in place an agency of government that is exclusively responsible for anything proceeds of crime.

“A one-stop shop arrangement by which all the assests that are recovered arising from crimes that are indeed vested in the federal government, you have a one-stop arrangenet where you can have an information. As it is for example, the Federal Ministry of Justice is only in a position to account and giving comprehensive account of what
recoveries were made by the ministry.

“But any recovery made by the police, DSS, the Ministry of Justice is not in a position to know. So, for the purpose of decision making and policy, the federal government is not in a position to have a wholistic appreciation.

“So, by the bill that is now presented for the consideration of the council, we’ll have a law that establishes an agency, and secondly, an agency.

“And as you rightly know, Mr President has sanctioned ever since he came on board, that there should be a budget line, a budget item for recovered assets.

“So, if you have a budget item for recovered assets, this agency will now be in a position to provide information to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on demand as to what amount is available for budget purposes, thereby establishing the desired transparency, the desired accountability which has not been available before now.

“So, it is about a memo that seeks to establish a legal framework, that seeks to establish institutional framework, that seeks to further take the fight against corruption to the next level by way of establishing transparency, accountability and making the possibility of forfeiture a proceeds of crime easy through the sanctioning of non-conviction based forfeiture among others.”

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Economy

Inflation Rate Increases Further in August to 13.22%

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Prices of Goods and Services Jump in Nigeria in August

Nigeria’s inflation rate rose further in the month of August to the highest since April 2018, according to the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

In the report released on Tuesday, the NBS said Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation rate, increase by 13.22 percent in the month under review.

This represents a 0.40 percent points increase from the 12.82 percent posted for the month of July.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased by 0.09 percent points from 1.25 per cent achieved in July to 1.34 percent in August 2020.

The report read in part, “The consumer price index, which measures inflation increased by 13.22 percent (year-on-year) in August 2020. This is 0.40 percent points higher than the rate recorded in July 2020 (12.82 percent).

“On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 1.34 percent in August 2020. This is 0.09 per cent higher than the rate recorded in July 2020 (1.25 per cent).”

Rising costs continue to disrupt consumer spending in Africa’s largest economy, especially after President Muhammadu Buhari removed subsidy, up VAT from 5 percent to 7.5 percent and implemented service reflective electricity tariff during a tough period of global pandemic.

Despite majority of Nigerians saying the time is wrong, experts have said it was the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that compelled the administration to up revenue generation in order to continue to service its debt and embark on necessary capital projects.

With the $3.4 billion loan secured from the IMF in May running out amid falling oil price and weak demand for the commodity, the Buhari led administration once again approached the World Bank for another loan of $1.5 billion to further cushion the negative impacts of COVID-19.

According to the people familiar with the process, the new loan is not receiving much attention from the multilateral financial institution as it insisted that some of the agreement reached with the International Monetary Fund before securing the $3.4 billion have not been implemented.

This, experts said was one of the main reasons the federal government made all the recent adjustments despite economic challenges and limitations.

The food index increase from 15.48 percent in July to 16 percent in the month of August, according to the statistics office.

“This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, meat, fish, fruits, oils and fats and vegetables,” it added.

The persistent increase in prices bolstered cost of living and plunged consumer spending in Africa’s largest economy due to broad-based layoffs and businesses shutting down operations for a safe haven.

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Economy

NNPC Says It Spent N41.98 Billion on Pipeline Repairs in Six Months

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pipleline vandalisation

NNPC Spends N41.98 Billion on Pipeline Repairs

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it spent a total sum of N41.98 billion on pipeline repairs and management in the first six months of the year.

The corporation stated in its latest monthly oil report, saying “Products theft and vandalism have continued to destroy value and put NNPC at disadvantaged competitive position.”

It explained that a total of 1,067 pipeline points were vandalised between June 2019 and June 2020 with 33 of those vandalised in June 2020. That was 11 percent lower than the 37 points vandalised in the month of May.

The NNPC said, “Mosimi-Ibadan accounted for 33 per cent while ATC-Mosimi and Warri-River Niger recorded 27 per cent of the breaks each; other locations make up for the remaining 13 per cent.

“NNPC in collaboration with the local communities and other stakeholders continuously strive to reduce and eventually eliminate this menace.”

Further break down showed the NNPC spent N5.48 billion on pipeline repairs and management costs in the month of January 2020. In February, March, April, May and June of the same year, the corporation spent N6.74 billion; N7.69 billion; N7.84 billion; N7.99 billion and N6.24 billion, respectively.

The corporation also said the pipelines have aged over the years, therefore, giving rise to frequent failures and consequent operational downtimes.

“In addition, these facilities have aged over the years giving rise to frequent failures and consequent operational downtimes, high maintenance cost and revenue losses,” the NNPC added.

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