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President Buhari to inaugurate ministers August 21

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The 43 ministers-designate are to be inaugurated on Agust 21 by President Muhammadu Buhari, a statement by Babatunde Lawal, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs Office in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

Ahead of their inauguration, ministers-designate are scheduled to undergo a two-day induction retreat at the State House Conference Room, Presidential Villa beginning from August 19.

The statement reads: “The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, invites all ministers-designate, head of the civil service of the federation, federal permanent secretaries and top government functionaries (specifically invited) to a two-day induction retreat to be presided over by his excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the retreat earlier publicised has been rescheduled.”

The objectives of the retreat, he said, include:

  • build a strong platform for synergy and teamwork, sensitise appointees on the status of the implementation of policies, programmes and projects of government from 2015 till date
  • acquaint the appointees with the roadmap for delivery of government’s priorities and next level agenda (2019-2023).
  • deepen the understanding of participants on best practices in conducting government business.

The statement said attendance at both events is mandatory and strictly by invitation.

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POLITICS

Release political prisoners, Secondus tells Buhari

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The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to release “political prisoners”.

Addressing reporters yesterday on the side-line of a visit to Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri at the Government House in Yola, Secondus said there should be no room for political prisoners in a democracy.

He said: “We ask President Buhari to release political prisoners. It is not done in any political dispensation. What we are seeing today is as if we are in a military era. He should urgently release political prisoners and allow a political atmosphere and a country where there is freedom of speech.”

Urging the media to take the lead in the campaign for free speech, Secondus added: “I want to call on journalists and media managers not to sit on the fence. They can’t just sit and watch the country sliding. They played a major role in the past, removing the country from the hands of the military. They have tempered with some among them. It is time for them to join hands with the good people of Nigeria to stand on the path of truth, on the path of democracy.”

The PDP National Chairman stressed that freedom of conscience must be allowed in a political environment.

He alluded to the arrest of Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the Africa Action Congress (AAC) in the last election and Convener of the #RevolutionNowMovement.

Secondus said: “The President must release political prisoners, particularly the presidential candidate of AAC, Sowore.”

The PDP chieftain, who said his party’s leadership was in Adamawa State to commiserate with Fintiri on the death of his father, enjoined the people to support the governor to record high performance.

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POLITICS

BMO to Atiku: you, not Buhari, impoverished Nigerians

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Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is directly responsible for the pauperisation of millions of Nigerians as head of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) said on Tuesday.

It said this contradicted his claims that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration ruined the country.

In a statement by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO noted that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election is again pushing a false narrative to fool undiscerning Nigerians.

“We are not surprised that the former Vice-President has jumped on a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report issued last month to take a swipe at a man he clearly considers as his nemesis.

“The UN body had noted that slightly over 98 million Nigerians were living in multi-dimensional poverty, but, as usual, the PDP presidential candidate did not fully grasp the details before launching an attack on President Buhari,” the statement said.

It added: “The report indicated that about 46 per cent of Nigerians were poor as at today, but Atiku Abubakar needs to be reminded that   60.9 per cent of Nigerians, or 100 million people, were living below the poverty threshold in 2010, and 120 million in 2012, according to the World Bank, which is the body that provides a global poverty headcount.

“Interestingly, the period the country had an exponential spike in the number of people living below $1 a day was during the 16 unbroken years that the former Vice-President’s party held sway in Nigeria.”

BMO also noted that the PDP stalwart created the pathway for Nigeria’s struggle with poverty alongside his then principal, Olusegun Obasanjo, with the less than transparent privatisation he presided over.

“It is not a secret that Alhaji Abubakar was the executor-in-chief of what has gone down in the annals of the nation as a major heist of the nation’s assets, an action that later pitched him against former President Obasanjo.

“He literally sold off several government-owned enterprises for less than their market values to his cronies to strip and cannibalise, and in the process, tens of thousands of workers were denied their livelihood and laid off without benefits. It is also on record that he kept one of the prized assets (Onne Port) to himself.

“Or, does he also have to be reminded of the period when the nation’s Education sector virtually collapsed but that was when he and former President Obasanjo established high profile private secondary and tertiary institutions?

“So, if Atiku is searching for the person who plunged Nigerians into multi-dimensional poverty, he should just look into the nearest mirror, or maybe he could tell us how many people he drove into penury and how many had their pensions paid, even after the terminal date of the Obasanjo administration.

“In case he missed the latest news, the Buhari administration, through its Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), has paid the outstanding severance package of over 1,500 verified eligible former workers and next-of-kin of deceased former workers of Savannah Sugar Company.

“The former Vice-President cannot say he has forgotten that these workers were not paid their benefits when they were disengaged in 2002, after the company was privatised.

“This is just one out of many examples of how President Buhari has been cleaning up the mess left by Atiku and his party’s leaders, who have not shown any form of remorse but are rather prepared to also insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.”

The BMO urged the former Vice-President to heed the advice of his former boss and seek proper forgiveness from Nigerians for the harm he did the country.

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NEWS

Breaking: Court freezes Bauchi’s account

•Judge orders EFCC to notify state, bank within 21 days

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Federal High Court in Abuja as ordered the freezing of an account owned by the Bauchi State Government in First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

The account, with number: 0998552074, with a balance of about N11,500,000,000, is to be frozen pending the conclusion of an ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC).

Justice Taiwo Taiwo gave the order yesterday after lawyer to the EFCC, Abu-Bakr Aliyu, moved an ex-parte application he filed to that effect.

Justice Taiwo ordered the EFCC to, within 21 days, notify the respondents – the Bauchi State Government and the FCMB – about the court’s decision.

The judge adjourned further hearing until September 3, 2019.

The EFCC stated in the suit that it was investigating a money laundering case, in which the account featured prominently.

It claimed that the states immediate past government was involved in money laundering for which it deployed the account.

The EFCC stated that it needed to have the account frozen to preserve the funds being held in it.

An official of the EFCC, Jakub Sani, stated in a supporting affidavit that “it is a fact that between the 24th and 28th day of May, 2019, the applicant received intelligence that the then outgoing government at Bauchi State initiated a process at overdrawing to launder the sum of N19,897,809,334.08 property of Bauchi State Government.

“The bank account, subject matter of the intelligence, is the Bauchi State Government Operational Account number: 0998552074 domiciled at First City Monument Bunk.

“The actual amount in the said bank account is N11,500,000 000 00 which was paid to the Bauchi State Government by the Federal Government of Nigeria via the Central Bank.

“The process of laundering employed by the suspects includes the issuance of mandates and cheques rose to the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) for the payments of non-executed contracts and fictitious claims to individuals and contractors.

“The Bauchi State Accountant General is one at the signatory that clears the said cheques and mandates for the said suspicious payments and still remains a signatory to the said account under investigation.

“This honourable court has the jurisdiction to grant this order and it is in the best interest of justice to grant this application.”

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