Tag Archives: presidency

2023: Edo should produce president after Buhari – Edo Indigenes

The umbrella body of Edo indigenes, Edo Indigenous Movement(EIM) /Edo Progressive Indigenes Association (EPIA) has said that the next president of Nigeria should be an Edo person.

EPIA in its argument, wondered why there is so much hullabaloo over Nigeria’s presidency when the Edo people, despite their contributions to national development, have never been considered for the position.

Chief Bishop J.O.E Edokpolo who is the Edo Indigenous leader and president, in a message to journalists at the weekend, said its the turn of Edo State to produce a president.

“In all fairness, Nigeria should be led by a president of Edo extraction in 2023. Given its historical role in Nigeria and as a kingdom that has been seen as one of the most historically civilized class of people in Africa, we feel very marginalized for not having a president from Edo Kingdom. It is our turn and not our fault, Edo is able and capable”, he stated.

Babachir Lawal: Next president  should come from the South

A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor should come from the southern region of the country.

Lawal especially expressed objection to certain political factions in the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) opposed to the likely candidacy of the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu.

Tinubu, a former Lagos governor, has been nursing a coy ambition to contest in the 2023 presidential election when Buhari finishes his second term.

However, there are influential people in the party, mostly from the north, who are not comfortable with his likely run.

The recent sacking of the Adams Oshiomhole-led national working committee of the party is considered by experts as being a key strategy to cripple Tinubu’s run ahead of the election.

Lawal said in an interview with Punch, published on Sunday, August 2, 2020, that Tinubu deserves a chance to run.

He said, “Except we want to bring the wrath of God on our heads, because of his role in building the party, equity and a sense of justice demand that he be given a chance in a free and fair system and let his luck prevail.

“Nobody with a clear conscience in the APC will deny Tinubu the opportunity to contest the Presidency.

“Nobody within the party has the moral right to even put a stumbling block on his path.

“The party must create an environment that is free and fair for anybody who wants to contest, including Bola Tinubu.”

Lawal called on Buhari, who sacked him as SGF over corruption allegations, to support a rotation of the presidency back to the southern region.

He noted that the north has had a lot of leadership stints at the top of government without much to show for it.

“A just and equitable way of doing things is to agree, as gentlemen, that since the north has had its president for the second tenure, the opportunity should be given to the south to produce the next president,” he said.

The discussion about rotating the presidency between both regions, an unwritten agreement called zoning, has gained national prominence over the past few days after President Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura, said it’s not beneficial to the country.

“It is better for this country to be one. It should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere,” he said.

Daura’s comment was not favourably received by southern politicians who alleged that it’s a ploy to ensure Buhari’s successor is another northerner.

President Buhari distanced himself from the comment days later, noting that Daura can make such a comment in his personal capacity without it being a reflection of his own opinion on the subject.

Punch

2023: MAMMAN DAURA’S MERIT PRESCRIPTION AND ITS MISDIAGNOSIS

By Law Mefor

A significant number of people have died due to misdiagnosis of their medical conditions done with the best of intentions. One can be right the wrong way and vice versa. Such is life.

The nephew and closest confidant of President Muhammadu Buhari, in a BBC Hausa interview days ago, called for merit in deciding who governs Nigeria at the expiration of Buhari’s tenure.

In case you missed the interview, Daura said: “This turn by turn, it was done once, it was done twice, and it was done trice…It is better for this country to be one… It should be for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere…”

What one understands the elder statesman to say is: Nigeria has come of age when merit should govern our national life. This is not quite a fair postulation if merit will not be applied in every aspect. The office of the President cannot be an exception and since federal character is what obtained, given its indivisible nature, only rotation can apply to it. For related good reasons, the Federal Character and Quota System still override merit in most official considerations in Nigeria as ways of carrying every part of country along. This is point missed by the elder statesman.

Right from the foundation of Nigeria the political and structural imbalances of the country have been at issue and have caused much crisis and continually arrest the nation’s development. Before independence, Nigeria operated three regions, two in the South and one in the North. Nigeria added one more region in 1963 – Mid-Western Region, still in the South.

The four regions operated up till the Biafra civil war when the then head of state Yakubu Gowon abolished the 4 regions and created 12 States. Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi created no states. General Olusegun Obasanjo who succeeded Murtala Mohammed, who also created states, did not create any State also.

Generals Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Sani Abacha created States as Heads of State of Nigeria, bringing the number of States in Nigeria to 36 plus the Federal Capital Territory, which is also given the Status of a State, given the North an overarching advantage where it comes determining who becomes the President of Nigeria.

The number of Local Governments in Nigeria (774) also gives the North nearly 60% while about 40% to the Southern part, using landmass instead of human population. Yet, these amorphously and unfairly created States and Local governments form the basis of determining which part of the country produces the President of Nigeria. Going by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, it stipulates that the winner of the nation’s presidential election would score 25% of the votes in 2/3rd of the States of the federation and simple majority of votes. This makes it almost certain that the North is always in a position to determine who emerges the President of Nigeria at any time.

Yes, democracy is about majority but where the primordial sentiments and skewed structures pervading the nation are irrational, other measures must come to play to stabilize the polity. Voters do not consider candidates on merit in Nigeria but on religion, ethnicity, and region and so on. There is nothing democratic about that pattern of voting and where it is rife and one side of the country dominates the rest based on such factors, rotation becomes inevitable. Such factors made the United States of America to introduce popular votes and electoral votes.

Recall that Hillary Clinton won the popular votes but Donald J. Trump is President based on electoral votes. One may as well argue that the US approach is undemocratic but it has kept the country peaceful and progressive. Zoning of presidential position in Nigeria is akin to the US introduction of Electoral Votes, which supersedes popular votes where necessary.

Nigerian political class was therefore wise for the zoning understanding that has decided the political life of the country since 1999. It has served the nation well and each time efforts are made to set it aside, there has been an overly overheating of the polity. The most classic example of the crisis was an attempt by an incumbent to go for another term when the power ought to move to Northern Nigeria. The attempt of President Goodluck Jonathan (as he then was) to set aside zoning to enable him contest again brought the nation to a precipice.

That decision to set aside rotation and zoning gave oxygen to the formation of the first successful coalition to stop Dr. Goodluck i.e. the All Progressives Congress (APC). It formed the basis for the legacy political parties, namely: Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN), All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the PDP rally Nigerians.

The political leaders rallied round APC because it was a just resistance of an action to thwart a beautiful measure aimed at giving the nation political stability and progress.

In other words, merit as seen by the elder statesman, Mamman Daura is inoperable and does not apply to the nation’s presidency without moderating factors given their due premiums. Again, it also depends on how the nation applies merit. Nigeria as perhaps 6 nations rolled up in one can always have competent men and women in each of the six zones.

In the South East for example (just like in other regions of the country), there are at least a dozen acknowledged men and women who can provide topnotch leadership to our nation.

In other words, rotation does not mean that merit is scarified in Nigeria. Those who have ruled Nigeria were blighted by the nation’s skewed structures, which they lacked the political will to confront, not lack of merit.

There is none who has ruled Nigeria that was not competent enough. But each either lacked the guts to set the skewed structures of Nigeria aright or they maintained the status quo for the little, passing gains enjoyed by their regions.

Those who argue otherwise argue amiss. Merit and competence to rule a country render the many factors of leadership too secondary. The real deciding factors could be National visibility, acceptability, Integrity and Political courage. However, in application, judging by the Nigerian experience, what is important is the person being known and acceptable to a broad spectrum of national power stakeholders, influencers and to the generality of Nigerians.

Elder Statesman Mamman Daura knows what is meant by “broad spectrum of national power stakeholders”. To this group who decide who rules Nigeria, merit is not an educational qualification. It means much more. After all, to date Jonathan has been the only university graduate to rule Nigeria.

Rotation will give the nation the opportunity to keep the struggle for power by the regions, which ruined the First Republic, to be less rancorous. It will give the nation the chance to focus on development since the area when the next president will come from is predictable.

Rotation of presidential power became inevitable. All the factors that have made Restructuring Nigeria inevitable have equally made rotation inevitable. These are the centrifugal forces tearing the nation apart. All the measures that can help keep Nigeria one, progressive and peaceful are, by all means, democratic. Democracy is agreement and consensus, and there is nothing more consensus than rotation, given the nation’s peculiarity.

Dr. Law Mefor, a Social Psychologist, writes from Abuja; e-mail: drlawmefor@gmail.com; tweet: @LawMefor1.

BREAKING: PRESIDENCY SPEAKS ON THE SUSPENSION OF MR. IBRAHIM MAGU

A series of documented allegations were made against the Ag. Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Following a preliminary review of the allegations leveled against the Ag. Chairman and several other members of his staff, there were grounds for a detailed investigation to be conducted.

Hence, an investigative panel was constituted in compliance with the extant laws governing the convening of such a body.

As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the Chief Executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the Chief Executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent and unhindered investigation.

The EFCC does not revolve around the personality of an individual, and as such cannot be seen through the prism of any individual.

Therefore, the suspension of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head.

The EFCC has many good, hardworking men and women who are committed to its ideal and ensuring that the wealth of our country isn’t plundered and wherein there is an act of misappropriation such person(s) are brought to justice.

Meanwhile, Mr. Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him. This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the Laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty.

We must realize that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor; and as we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution.

What is however important is that there must be accountability and transparency and our people must realize that they would be held to account. This is the building block in the fight against corruption, the establishment of the concept of Accountability and the recognition of the Rule of Law.

Those who see Mr. Magu’s investigation, as a signal that the fight against corruption is failing, have unfortunately, missed the boat.

There is no better indication that the fight is real and active than the will to investigate allegations in an open and transparent manner against those who have been charged to be custodians of this very system.

Under this President and Government, this is our mantra and guiding principle. There are no sacred cows, and for those who think they have a halo over their heads, their days are also numbered.

Mr. Magu was not immune – and regardless of the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by him, given the office he held, may appear for the government.

No other administration in the history of Nigeria would have moved to bring into the light and public domain such an allegation.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
July 11, 2020

BREAKING: Buhari suspends Magu as EFCC acting chairman

Ibrahim Magu has been suspended as Acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by President Muhammadu Buhari, the BBC reports.

Magu spent the night in a police cell at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Headquarters in Abuja.

This followed a six-hour grilling by a presidential panel, chaired by Justice Ayo Salami, a former president of the Court of Appeal.

Buhari set up the panel to probe various allegations levelled against Magu, following a petition by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Department of State Service (DSS).

PRESIDENCY TOURS IBINI UKPABI IN PREPARATION FOR NIGERIA @ 60

A presidential delegation yesterday visited the ancient town of Arochukwu in Arochukwu LGA of Abia State. The tour was facilitated by Abia State Government.

The delegation led by President Muhammad Buhari’s photographer, Mr. Bayo Omoboriowo and his team landed on a chopper at ASCETA field and was received by the Transition Committee Chairman, Mazi Jideofor Kanu, who represented Abia State government.

Mr. Bayo was on the trip to take record of relics and artifacts especially in the Arochukwu caves.
He acknowledged that Arochukwu Ancient Kingdom is a historic place with the Ibini Ukpabi (Long Juju as a tourist attraction) which is recognized Nationally and internationally adding that he hopes to explore the nature and wonders of the caves.

The team first paid homage to the Eze Aro’s Palace and then visited the Ibini Ukpabi caves (Long Juju).

The documentation will be compiled and published as a book in honour of Nigeria at 60 to be launched on the 1st of October 2020 by the president.

The meeting was coordinated by Mr Chinenye Nwogu, Special Adviser to the Governor and Focal person, Abia State Social Investment programs.

In his welcome speech, the host and Transition Committee Chairman, Arochukwu LGA, Mazi Emmanuel Jideofor Kanu commended the team for the visit to Arochukwu and assured that ibini ukpabi information will enrich the documentation, adding that the ancient town of Arochukwu as the cradle of igbo civilization had a number of tourist locations that are waiting to be harnessed. He called on the Presidency and the ministry of Tourism to develop these sites as they will help boost the economy of the nation.

He led the visitors and others to a long and adventurous trek into the gully to the admiration of the team

N-Power (Batch C) Enrolment commences June 26th, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS

…Presidency hails programmes
…Enrolment sequel to wide consultations and review
…Online portal to open for applications from noon on June 26, 2020
…All applicants must supply their Bank Verification Number (BVN) for transparency
…Batch A & B to transit June 30th and July 31st, 2020 respectively into entrepreneurship schemes
… Past beneficiaries are not eligible to participate in Batch C

Abuja – 18/06/2020:

The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has announced the commencement of enrolment for a new batch of N-Power beneficiaries effective June 26th 2020.

The N-Power Programme was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) with the mandate of lifting citizens out of poverty through capacity building, investment, and direct support.

In his Democracy Day broadcast on June 12, 2020 the President commended the programme, noting that “our Social Investment Programme has continued to be a model to other nations.”

The commencement of the Batch C enrolment is sequel to far reaching consultations and a review of the submissions on the reform and realignment of the programme for greater efficiency.

Batch C is also being enrolled to provide opportunities for more Nigerian youths to access the programme, in furtherance of the President’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by creating opportunities that will enhance the productivity of the Nigerian youths for entrepreneurship.

In view of these, the Ministry has announced that Batch A will exit June 30, 2020 and Batch B will exit the programme on July 31, 2020.

According to the Honourable Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq, “we have commenced the transitioning of beneficiaries from Batches A & B into government entrepreneurship schemes and engaging private sector bodies to absorb some of the beneficiaries after the completion of psychometric assessment to determine competency and placement into various opportunities. The Federal government is committed to the continuation and expansion and as such will now begin enrolment and onboarding of a new Batch of beneficiaries. Skills acquisition for entrepreneurship and job creation are critical for an economy that will require a boost post-Covid-19 and we are gearing up proactively for the challenge.”

Applications will be conducted using a hybrid system of enrolment to ensure that all Nigerians are given an opportunity to participate. As a Ministry that caters for the vulnerable, we will also make special considerations for Persons living with disabilities.

The online portal would be open to receive applications from noon on June 26, 2020 and will provide a level playing field for all applicants.

As part of the Ministry’s reforms to make the programme more efficient, all applicants must supply their Bank Verification Number (BVN) in their application. This is to ensure a streamlined and transparent selection process.

Once applications are submitted, the Ministry will review submissions and publish a list of successful applicants. Past beneficiaries are not eligible to participate in the application process.

Comprehensive details for the new batch will be announced in the coming weeks.

The N-Power programme has enrolled 500,000 beneficiaries thus far – 200,000 from Batch A which started in September 2016 and 300,000 from Batch B which kicked off in August 2018. The beneficiaries were supposed to spend not less than 24 months on the programme and were spread across the key industries targeted by the program – Agriculture, Health, Education, and Tax.

The current beneficiaries from Batches A and B are scheduled to transit the programme by July 31st with plans already in place to transition them into entrepreneurship.

COVID-19: WHAT PRESIDENT BUHARI HAS DONE, AND IS DOING, BY PRESIDENCY

In his broadcast to the nation on Sunday, March 29, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari declared that “in Nigeria’s fight against Covid-19, there is no such thing as an overreaction or under-reaction. It is all about the right reaction by the right agencies and trained experts.”

Lest we forget, below is a chronicle of some of the reactions by the agencies and trained experts, under the leadership of President Buhari. All these are apart from the impressive job being done by some state governors.

· January 28, 2020, (one month before the first case of Corona Virus). Federal Government assured citizens of the country of its readiness to strengthen surveillance at five international airports in the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The government announced the airports as Enugu, Lagos, Rivers, Kano and the FCT.

· January 28: The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) also announced that it had already set up coronavirus group and was ready to activate its incident system if any case emerged in Nigeria.

· January 31: Following the developments on Covid-19 pandemic in mainland China and other countries worldwide, the Federal Government set up a Coronavirus Preparedness Group to mitigate the impact of the virus if it eventually spreads to the country. On the same day, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed Nigeria among other 13 African countries identified as high-risk for the spread of the virus.

· February 27: Nigeria reports its first Coronavirus case

· Early March: Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, announced that 60 persons who had contact with the index Italian patient were under isolation – 40 in Ogun State and 20 in Lagos State.

· March 9: President Buhari established a Presidential Task Force for the control of the virus in the country.

· March 17: Nigeria postponed the 20th National Sports Festival that was billed to hold in Benin City, Edo State from 22 March to 1 April.

· March 18: Presidential Task Force Press Briefing during which the Federal Government announced that travellers from 13 countries would no longer be allowed to enter Nigeria until the Coronavirus pandemic was over.

· Nigeria is restricting entry into the country for travellers from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, United States, Norway, United Kingdom, Netherlands & Switzerland. These are countries with over 1,000 cases domestically.

· The government also stopped issuance of visas from the countries.

· The Federal Government also suspended the issuance of visa on arrival to travelers from the earlier named countries. All travelers returning from these countries prior to the restriction will be in supervised self-isolation, monitored by NCDC and Port Health Services.

· March 18: The Management of the National Youth Service Corps suspended the 2020 Batch A stream one 21 days orientation exercise indefinitely. The orientation exercise commenced on 10 March and was expected to end on 30 March, before it was suspended after just 8 days.

· March 18: Nigeria placed a travel ban on 13 countries with high cases of the virus namely: United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, China, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Japan and Iran.

· March 18: The Nigeria Football Federation suspended all football activities for four weeks.

· March 19: Nigerian President’s daughter in isolation after returning from Britain.

· March 20: Nigerian government announced the closure of tertiary educational institutions, secondary and primary.

· March 20: Nigeria extended travel ban to two more countries, Sweden and Austria.

· March 20: Nigeria announced the closure of international airports in Enugu, Port Harcourt and Kano.

· March 21: The Nigerian Railway Corporation announced the suspension of all passenger services from 23 March.

· March 21: Nigeria announced the closure of the remaining two international airports in Abuja and Lagos.

· March 23: The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad ordered all courts in Nigeria to shut down from 24 March.

· March 23: Nigeria announced the suspension of Federal Executive Council, (FEC) and National Council of State (NCS) meetings indefinitely.

· March 23: The Independent National Electoral Commission announced suspension of all activities for 14 days.

· March 24: The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board suspends activities for two weeks.

· March 24: The National Examination Council announced an indefinite postponement of the 2020 common entrance examination into 104 Unity schools in Nigeria, which was scheduled to hold on 28 March.

· March 24: The Federal Capital Territory Administration ordered the immediate closure of shops in the markets and neighbourhood centres, except those selling food items, medicines and other essential commodities.

· March 24: FCT also directed the immediate suspension of gathering in churches and mosques.

· March 25: Government announced the closure of Asaba airport with effect from March 27; land borders from March 29.

· March 26: CBN announced Covid-19 fund contributions by seven Nigerian billionaires and banks. Access Bank Plc, Nigeria’s biggest lender by assets, is teaming up with Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, to provide treatment and isolation centres across Africa’s most populous nation as it braces for the impact of the coronavirus.

· March 26: Federal Government received 107 boxes of medical supplies from China, comprising surgical masks, protective clothing, face shields and detection kits.

· March 27: Federal Government released 10 Billion Naira to Lagos State, and 5 billion Naira special intervention fund to NCDC to equip, expand and provide personnel to its facilities and laboratories across the country.

· Closure of the nation’s international Airports and Land Borders for four weeks in the first instance, to enable the country put up the appropriate policies, processes and infrastructure to cope with suspected and confirmed cases at home, without risking compounding of the situation with more imported cases.

· Only cargo vessels that have been at sea for more than 14 days would be allowed to dock in the ports, after the crew have been tested and confirmed disease-free by the Port Health Authorities.

· NCDC to draft all its recent retirees back into service to beef up manpower.

· Furthermore, all NCDC staff and experts who are away on training or international assignments are to return immediately. Nigerian Air Force (NAF) conducting an evacuation mission to bring back some of Nigerian specialists in Central Africa, to enable them support the national response.
· March 27: President Buhari commends the monetary policy authorities for their financial intervention to support entrepreneurs and companies. Government also looking at fiscal measures to minimise the negative impact of this pandemic on the livelihood of millions of Nigerians.

· Government begins the process of reviewing the federal budget.

· President Buhari directs the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, to work with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), to ensure that production of essential items such as food, medical and pharmaceutical products continues.

· The Minister of Health stated that of the 65 Coronavirus cases, 40 had immediate travel history to one or more of the Coronavirus affected countries in the last two weeks;10 are close contacts of confirmed cases; 6 had neither a recent travel history nor a known contact and 6 were detected on an offshore oil vessel. He further revealed that, 3 persons had been discharged from treatment and one fatality was recorded. The Minister affirmed that 61 currently active cases are clinically stable with mild or moderate symptoms.

· The Minister of Health hinted that Lagos State is currently the epicentre of COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria, stating also that the Lagos State government and the ministry of health had scaled up their response activities as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control supports them as well as other affected states, through the rapid response teams deployed.

· The minister emphasised that health facilities and health workers at all levels should be on high alert and maintain a high index of suspicion to give full cooperation to contact tracers everywhere. He added that while train stations, land borders and international airports remained closed, precautionary measures should be taken by FG to protect sea ports.

· The minister emphasized the containment strategy of social distancing which he said, had been repeatedly announced. He added that directives had been issued at National and State levels to limit large gatherings, including religious, social and political gatherings, school events etc.

· March 27: A circular was issued by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) directing public servants on Grade Levels 12 and below on non-essential roles to work from home.

· Contact-tracing is on-going to identify persons who had been in close contact with confirmed cases.

· The Federal Ministry of Health is working closely with States and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to review response activities, and initiate measures to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians. The Multi-Sectoral Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), led by NCDC coordinates it and other national response activities

· NCDC launched a WhatsApp APL, a free to use service to provide a central source of accurate, verified and current information on COVID-19 in Nigeria.

· The Minister of Health also emphasized that the NCDC hotline is available 24/7 and toll free and that various states also have hotlines that could be called for direct state specific questions on COVID-19, while urging citizens to use them legitimately for reporting and enquiries.

· March 29: Presidential Broadcast.

· March 30: President Buhari signs Covid-19 Regulations, 2020 into law.

· March 30: 11pm: Lockdown begins in FCT and Lagos, as directed by President Buhari.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
April 1, 2020

It’s a lie, Zahra Buhari has no job at PPRA- Presidency

The Presidency has denied insinuations that the President’s daughter, Zahra is a director at the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

In a Press Statement signed by the Femi Adesina who is the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, the Presidency described the story as malicious as she, not only is not a director, but does not work at the Agency at all.

It read “An online medium given particularly to fake news publishes that Zahra, daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari, has fraudulently secured a job with the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

While Zahra, just like any other Nigerian, can work wherever she secures employment, we hasten to add that the story is false in every material particular.

The publication is untrue, malicious, and meant to cast aspersions at the First Family, since the tendentious platform claims the job was secured fraudulently.

All people of goodwill are enjoined to ignore the hack piece, masquerading as a news story”.

NLC VS NGIGE: PRESIDENCY MAKES CLARIFICATIONS ON NSITF

Following the disagreement between the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over the appointment of the Chairman of the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), the Presidency wishes to clarify as follows:

A. That the NSITF is a hundred percent, Federal Government of Nigeria owned insurance parastatal, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, designed for the role of insuring workers (employees) in the public and private sectors. The organization is empowered by law to implement the Employee Compensation Act (ECA) 2010 with mandate to insure workers and pay them compensation for accidents, deaths and injuries in the course of work.

B. The NSITF was bedevilled and riddled with corruption between 2012 – 2015, which resulted in a colossal loss and mismanagement of about N48 billion out of the total N62 billion contributions during the said period. These were contributions by the Employers – viz government and the private sector for payment of compensation to workers and even to Employers for loss of man-hours by their workers. This fraud has been investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the last Chairman and some members of the former board and some officials of the NSITF are presently being prosecuted by the EFCC.

C. All actions taken by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment towards the resuscitation and repositioning of this ailing agency, including the Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the affairs of NSITF and the suspension of the inauguration of the board in 2018 were part of the special work plan approved for the Honourable Minister by Mr. President.

D. The appointment of the Chairman of this board, which is in consonance with Sec. 4(a) of the NSITF Act CAP N88 of 2004 was also approved by Mr. President since 23rd July, 2018 on the recommendation of the Hon. Minister. Mr. Austin Enejamo-Isire, a Chartered Accountant, Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and renowned Insurance expert, Senior Member, Chartered Institute of Insurance of Nigeria (CIIN), Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) was approved by Mr. President for this position. Also approved by Mr. President were the Managing Director and three Executive Directors who had assumed duties since 18 April 2017.

Others also approved as Non-Executive Directors are two (2) members to represent the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), two members to represent the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and one (1) member each to represent the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. Members of this board are to be formally inaugurated at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 13, 2019 by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja.

E. Comrade Frank Kokori , our respected veteran labour leader has Mr. President’s immense respect and has also been appointed on the recommendation of the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment to chair the board of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), a diploma awarding labour institution.

Finally, the Presidency has noted with deep concern and regrets, the events that culminated in a skirmish at the private residence of the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, and condemns it, in its entirety. However, in the spirit of reconciliation, the Presidency appeals for calm from the NLC and the Ministry of Labour and Employment officials, as there are ongoing efforts to reconcile the NLC leadership with the Ministry of Labour and Employment, led by their Minister who has doggedly been fighting the cause of Nigerian workers whenever their issue is discussed by government, the latest being the enactment of the new National Minimum Wage Act 2019.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media and Publicity)

May 12, 2019