Buhari’s visit: US to repatriate $500m looted fund

Buhari

The visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to U.S. President Donald Trump has yielded the finalisation of negotiations to repatriate more than 500 million dollars (about 190 billion Naira) of Nigeria’s looted money traced to the U.S.
Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Washington, DC, that he and the Attorney-General of the U.S. would be meeting on Tuesday to finalise the agreement.
Malami explained that the technicalities involved were being taken care of by both officials of the Nigerian Governments and also from the U.S. side.
He said: “On the part of assets recovery, we have made considerable progress through this visit.
“There’s goodwill by the two presidents to have a road map for the repatriation of illicit funds and assets traced to the U.S. as proceeds of illicit transactions.
“This illicit funds and assets are to the tune of 500 million dollars and above for immediate repatriation.
“We are looking at the shortest practicable time for it to be repatriated.
“There is political commitment demonstrated by the two presidents.
“The over 500 million dollars is not all the recovery, it is only for the immediate repatriation while we continue with our efforts to recover more”.
Malami defended Nigeria’s human rights record, saying the Buhari’s administration is the first in the history of Nigeria to pay compensation for human rights violations.
He said in April, the Federal Government paid N135 million for the eight Apo traders who were found to have been victims of extra judicial killings by the Nigeria Police.
“Of the police officers indicted, two were sentenced to death. The payment of compensation was also as a result of the recommendation by the National Human Rights Commission and government did not appeal against it,” he said.
He noted that Trump approved of what Buhari’s administration is doing.
“Trump said Buhari is a great leader; he said he has a great respect for him; and he said Buhari has cut down on corruption,” Malami said.
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Source: NAN

Nigeria Airways pensioners to be paid after Easter – Aviation Minister

A glimpse of hope arose for the over 5,000 former staff of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, as the minister of state for aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced the government’s readiness to clear their pension arrears after the Easter holiday.
The minister gave the hint at the Fourth Aviation Stakeholders Forum held in Abuja on Thursday, where urged the affected ex-workers to be patient with the government till the nation gets back to work next week.
He explained that the government was awaiting the approval of the Senate after the House of Representatives had done same to secure legal backing for the release of N45b for the exercise.
“The House of Representatives has passed the payment, the Senate says it will pass it after the Easter break. So, there is no need to close down the economy of the country.
“You don’t need to close the airspace, in this hard times we have been able to raise N45 billion to pay for the pension arrears owed the workers,” he said, adding that government was committed to the welfare of workers.
Unions in the aviation sector alongside the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as the United Labour Congress (ULC) had on March 19 issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government after which failure to effect payment of the pension arrear would spark a major labour unrest in the sector.
The Ex-staff of the defunct national carrier had earlier petitioned Alhaji Umar Faruk Umar, the Emir of Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s home town, over the non-payment of their final severance packages duly approved by the Federal Government in May 2017.
Writing under the aegis of Aviation Unions Grand Alliance (AUGA), the petitioners accused the minister of finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, of non-nonchalance in carrying out President Buhari’s order to pay up their pension and other entitlements.
They also decried the delay in the payment several months after its approval.

Oyo/Osun Customs makes N16b in 11 months

The Oyo/Osun command of the Nigerian Customs Service said it has generated N16.18b in revenue in the last eleven months.

The command Controller, Elisha David Chikan, disclosed this to journalists in Ibadan on Tuesday while showing them some seizures made within the last two months.

Chikan informed that the revenue was in excess of N13.5b, representing 19.48% increase compared to the amount realised within the same period last year.

He attributed the feat to the tireless effort of men and officers of the command to ensure that they do not fail in the mandate of the Service.

He also showed journalists some of the contrabands seized in the last two months.

The items include 2, 370 bags of rice, 135 bales of used clothes and two used vehicles, popularly called ‘Tokunbo’- Audi 80 and Toyota Corolla.

While giving some breakdowns on the seized items, the Controller said the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the seized vehicles was N11, 066, 983.48k while that of the other goods was put at N53, 116, 021.29k, making a total sum of N64, 183, 004.77k as the DPV on the seizures, adding that four arrested suspects, who are currently on conditional bail, will soon be charged to court.
While stressing that the achievement was the result of intensified intelligence driven anti-smuggling efforts of the command, the Comptroller maintained that “the Nigeria Customs Service has zero tolerance for smuggling because of its dire consequences on the nation’s economy”.
He disclosed that the NCS of today had no reason not to perform because the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Ahmed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) had provided the service with enabling tools and environment to perform their duties effectively.

Oyo proposes N267b for 2018 fiscal year

2018 fiscal year

The Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, presented a budget of N267 Billion for the 2018 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly on Thursday tagging it ‘Budget of Stabilisation.

Though the governor could not provide the details before the lawmakers, saying the state ministry of finance would do the job later, he informed that the new budget is increased by N60b above that of 2017 which was N207b in total.

Governor Ajimobi informed the members of the house that the budget submitted for consideration and approval of the legislature stood at N267,436,357,912.19, adding that it is expected to be funded from Internally Generated revenue of N112.10bn, Federation Account N93.68bn, Capital Receipts of N43.72bn, Transfer (LG, JAAC for LGSPB & LGSC) of N7.53bn and an unspent income of N10.40bn from 2017.

The budget presentation witnessed the presence of eminent personalities in the state including former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, Former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, Former Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Ashimiyu Alarape, traditional rulers , led by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Salawudeen Adekunle Ajinese 1, Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adegbola, the Olubadan in Council, Party stalwarts as well as members of the Ibadan Elders Forum led by Ambassador Olu Sanu.

Senator Ajimobi said that the structure of the 2018 budgetary proposal reflects the priority the Government has accorded the various sectors in terms of their expected developmental effects, noting that the relative aggregate sectoral allocations were Economic Sector N85.390bn (57.29%), Social Services Sector N54.280bn (36.42%), Law & Justice Sector N0.517bn (0.35%) and General Administration Sector N8.860bn (5.94).

According to him, “The aggregate percentage of 93.71% of the capital expenditure allocated to the economic and social sub-sectors underscores the State Government’s determination to continue to pursue a people-centered, empowerment-focused agenda. We consider this as the best antidote to the problem of poverty amongst our people.

“It is to be recalled that apart from consistently utilizing more than the stipulated minimum of all the recurrent intervention from the federal government to settle salary/pension and arrears, our administration had conceded 100% monthly allocation from the federation accounts to payment of salaries and pensions of the State’s work force,” he added.

The Governor assured that his administration will further strengthen monitoring, supervision and inspection of our teaching staff as well as roll out  policies that will culminate to better performance of students at national and international examinations, adding that the State Government has awarded the construction and renovation of structures in Schools towards the provision of conducive environment for teaching and learning in our various schools with continued restructuring exercise in respect of staff redistribution with emphasis on professionalism and competence.

Contraband: Customs impound Dangote truck, others

Dangote

For allegedly conveying contraband items, the Ogun Area Command of the Nigerian Customs Service, Ogun Area Command has seized a truck belonging to Dangote Group.

The track was loaded with 600 bags of rice suspected to have been smuggled when men of the service intercepted it along the Sagamu interchange.

According to the Customs Comptroller of the command, S. J. Madugu, the impounded truck bears the registration number KMC 252 XC and has the serial number ICT-7A-001.

He added that the items in the vehicle were worth N26,940,000.

Other items seized by the outfit are a Ford bus carrying 100 packets of mosquito repellent and 50 kegs of foreign vegetable oil; a Hiace bus with 800 pairs of Italian footwears; a Sharon bus with 19 bundles of used tyres; white and silver 626 Mazda buses carrying 40 and 29 bags of rice, respectively, blue Mazda 626 with 30 bags of rice and dark blue Mazda carrying 48 bags of rice.

AfDB to create 25m jobs for youths

AfDB

The President, African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has launched the Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG), an initiative that will create 25 million jobs.

PYAG, launched on the side-lines of the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan, would provide insights and innovative solutions for job creation for Africa’s youth as outlined in the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy (JfYA).

The jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims to benefit 50 million youth over the next 10 years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs.

“It is currently the largest effort going on for youth employment in Africa.

“This is a huge opportunity for Africa. If we fix the youth unemployment challenge, Africa will gain 10-20% annual growth.

“That means Africa’s GDP will grow by $500 billion per year for the next 30 years.’’

He said Africa’s per capita income would rise by 55 per cent every year to the year 2050.

Adesina, who identified Africa’s greatest asset as its youth, observed that out of the 13 million youths that enter the labour market each year, only 3 million (about 33% of African youth) are in wage employment.

The rest, he said were underemployed or in vulnerable employment.

“The annual gap of more than 8 million jobs is going to worsen, with the number of youth expected to double to more than 800 million in the next decades.

“Africa has an unemployment crisis among its youth,” he stressed.

He noted that unless employment opportunities are created for them, Africa’s rapidly growing population of youths can give rise to serious social, economic, political and security challenges.

Africa’s youths, though strong and dynamic, cross the desert or the Mediterranean Sea because they do not find decent jobs in Africa.

“Graduates are wandering in the streets, jobless. The low level of employment opportunities is also fueling violence and extremism in Africa.

“Forty per cent of African youths engaged in armed violence join gangs or terrorist groups because of limited opportunities in their countries,” Adesina said.

“Sixty-six million African youths earn less than $2 a day, less than the price of a hamburger,” the Bank President emphasized.

Source: NAN

How hoodlums vandalized 200 transformers in Anambra – Electricity official

Electricity

The Network Manager of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), Samuel Onuoha, has given account of how hoodlums vandalized about 200 transformers within the company’s jurisdiction between January and November, 2017.

Onuoha expressed regrets over the development  while addressing a group of protesters, who were at the EEDC office in Awka on Monday.

He said 50 of the transformers were damaged in Nnewi; 30 in Awka; another 100 plus in Onitsha and others in Ekwulobia.

Onuoha explained that the vandals target different parts of the transformers, saying some go for oil and different types of cables, while other remove the feeder pillar units, among others.

The act, according to him, peaked towards the end of the year, as he insisted that the company would not fold its while it lasts.

Though he said the company had started repairing and replacing the affected transformers, he informed that six of the vandals are currently under prosecution.

Onuoha told the protesters to be patient with the company as he urged them to protect the transformers within their territories and ensure that they report any suspicious movement around the items to the company or nearest police station.

He promised the protesters that their transformer would be fixed by Wednesday, saying their inability to access electricity affects the company’s income too.

Residents and business owners on Odeagba and Arthur Eze Streets had earlier stormed the premises of EEDC to protest non-availability of electricity in the area for the past 14 months.

The Chairman of Arthur Eze Business Association, Amaechi Okeke, who led the protest, said the area has been in darkness since October 2016 when a sub-station/transformer was vandalized.

Modular refineries: We’received 7 applications from Delta – Nigerian Govt

Modular Refineries

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said on Thursday that the effort to further deregulate the nation’s downstream sector is yielding positive results as a total of seven applications are being processed for the establishment of modular refineries in Edo State alone.

The minister, who made the disclosure at a Stakeholders Engagement and Enlightenment Campaign held in Benin, the state capital, said three of the applications were already in the approval stage, and that the project is private-sector driven.

The campaign was organized by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, in collaboration with Edo Stata government.

Kachikwu informed the attendees of the federal government’s intention to ensure rapid development in the Niger Delta region through the establishment of modular refineries, gas flaring commercialization programme, as well as collaboration with the region in ensuring success for the government’s ongoing Amnesty programme.

The minister appreciated the communities within the state’s oil-producing areas for their cooperation with the government by being peaceful in their agitation for fair share of the resources exploited on their soil.

While urging them to continue on the path of peace, he told the congregation that the federal government has set up a committee to identify development needs in the area as it seeks to work towards addressing same within a specific timeline.

The committee, to be headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, also has  representatives of the federal and state governments, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and security agencies as members.

While making his remarks, the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, called for the extension of the Amnesty Programme to the state and a yearly stakeholders’ meeting, to encourage development in the state..

Nigerian tax systems too exploitative – Abiola-Peller

Tax System

A business mogul, Shina Abiola-Peller, has traced low investment in Nigeria’s tourism sector to multiple taxation, describing the nation’s tax system as being too exploitative.

Abiola-Peller, who delivered a lecture at the Press Centre of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State council on Tuesday, recommended review and harmonization of taxes among tiers of government in Nigeria as surest way of encouraging businesses, including tourism.

Entitled ‘Harnessing the tourism alternative for development in a challenged economy’, the lecture dwelled on the opportunities in the tourism sector and how they could be tapped.

“Multiple taxation and lack of clear government policy direction, the tax man in Nigeria is  more concerned about IGR growth than the growth of business concern, now I believe everyone should pay their fair share of tax but some of what goes on Nigeria borders on extortion,” he said.

Apart from excessive taxes, the lecturer also said there are other factors affecting the growth of tourism sector.

These, according to him, include policy summersault, infrastructural decay and poor security.

Abiola-Peller said the sector has the potentials to contribute immense to the growth of the nation’s GDP and address the unemployment problems ravaging the country.

He called for seriousness on the part of the governments at all levels and citizens’ involvement in the development of tourism.

244 Osun retirees get N1.7b bond

Osun retirees

A total of 244 retirees from the Osun State Civil Service have been issued N1.682bn worth of bonds.

This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Local Government Staff Pension Bureau of the State, Mr. Kayode Afolabi, during a ceremony to mark the presentation of certificates to beneficiaries in Osogbo, the state capital.

Giving the breakdown of the beneficiaries, Afolabi said 137 retired from public primary schools across the state, while the remaining 97 were former employees in its local government service.

He described the latest certificates presentation as fifth of its kind, noting that the last one was held on February 28, 2017.

The Permanent Secretary added that the exercise was in line with the provisions of the Contributory Pension Scheme for retired civil servants in the State.

He also told journalists that the state government is working hard to address the issue of delayed remittance of pensions deduction it was facing, which, according to him, was as a result of cash crunch facing the state.

He said the state government would very soon issue bond certificates to another set of retirees in line with the state’s determination to ensure welfare of current workers and the retired ones.