8—VANGUARD, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018 :Vanguard News :@vanguardnews :@vanguardnews NEWS HOTLINES: 08052867023, 08052867058 AT LATE MBU’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY LAUNCH: Disintegration not answer to national question, says Amaechi By Dirisu Yakubu ABUJA—MINISTER of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday, called for continuous dialogue in the search for an answer to the national question, saying disintegration, as some were championing, was not an option worth pursuing. Amaechi stated this at the presentation of ‘Dignity in Service,’ the autobiography of late Nigerian ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Matthew Mbu, in Abuja. Other dignitaries at the event include former governors of Akwa Ibom, Edo and Cross River states, Victor Attah, Lucky Igbinedion and Liyel Imoke respectively; Anambra State gubernatorial flag bearer of United Peoples Party, UPP, in the 2017 guber election, Osita Chidoka, and former Minister of Health, Professor Alphonsus Nwosu. Others are Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Usani; former National Security Adviser, General Aliyu Gusau (retd); erstwhile President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara; Chairman, Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay; Chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma- Egba, and Senator Khiariat Gwadabe among others. Speaking at the book launch, Amaechi, who doubled as chairman of the occasion, admitted knowing little about the late diplomat but added that his record of unblemished stewardship would continue to remain a reference point in years to come. “The late M.T. Mbu was from the South-South but he was not a South-South Minister. He preached one Nigeria while he lived and this is what I think we all should be doing. There are many things we can continue to discuss rather than asking for the disintegration of the country,” he stated. A retired diplomat, Ignatius Olisameka, who was one of the figures that graced the occasion, descried the author as a man of immense courage, who projected the image of the country positively wherever he was assigned. While lauding the author for his effort, particularly his reference in the book of how the late Nnamdi Azikiwe won a seat in the Western Region but was prevented from assuming duties, Olisameka regretted the failure of Mbu to tell the story of how the Zik of Africa masterminded the exit of Professor Eyo Etta from the Eastern Region to pave way for an indigenous person. The book is a chronicle of the life and times of the eminent lawyer and quintessential diplomat as well as scheming and intrigues in the corridors of power, particularly the event that led to the choice of the late Umaru Yar’Adua as the Presidential flag bearer of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 2007 in place of the former Rivers State governor, Dr. Peter Odili. FORUM: From left, Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Nominees Limited, Mr. Akeem Oyewale; Director, Lagos Zonal Office, Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Stephen Falomo; Head, Transactional Products & Services, Stanbic IBTC, Mr. Inwang Akpan; and Head, Investor Services Products, Standard Bank South Africa, Mr. Hari Chaitanya, at the 2018 investor services forum organised by Stanbic IBTC in Lagos, yesterday. Photo: Joe Akintola, Photo Editor. APC congresses: Fears of fresh crisis over proposal on tenure elongation By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor FEARS of fresh crisis erupting in All Progressives Congress, APC, were yesterday being stoked as stakeholders continued to grapple with the import of the recommendations of Governor Simon Lalong committee report on the future of the party’s executives. A provision of the report as exclusively reported by Vanguard, yesterday, had proposed the extension of the tenure of the party executives in the event that fresh congresses cannot be organised. The committee in its report said the recommendation of elongation of the tenure of the executive did not offend the provisions of the constitution of the country or that of the party. Critical stakeholders were, however, expressing fear that despite the president’s plea for a waiver for the national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and other executive members to contest for re-election, that some stakeholders could try to frustrate the planned congresses. A source told reporters yesterday: “I suspect a plot to frustrate and subvert the congresses and convention, especially since waivers have been given to the NEC to supervise the exercise and re-contest in the intra-party elections. "There may be no commitment to a successful congress and convention. The exercise can be programmed to fail to achieve tenure elongation through the back door.” However, that assertion was strongly countered by another party official in Abuja, yesterday, who said the party was not going for tenure elongation. “We have dumped tenure elongation. If it were still on the cards, the president would not have asked for waiver,” the party operative said. Continuing, he said: “This is a plot by the PDP and enemies of the party, we are not going for tenure elongation, no one is talking about it now,” he said. 2019: OBJ, IBB can't stop Buhari — Shittu ABUJA—MINISTER of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said, yesterday, that former President Olusegun Obasanjo cannot stop President Muhammadu Buhari from winning in 2019. Speaking in an interview with NAN in Abuja, Shittu described Buhari’s declaration as a welcome development. Shittu, who is the coordinator of the Buhari/ Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group, asked supporters of the President to start mobilising for the election. He said: “Who is OBJ? OBJ is not God. IBB is not God. Obasanjo was president here, he wanted a third term and he didn’t get it. "What Mr President did yesterday (Monday), we had done that much back on his behalf; that is the Muhammadu Buhari/ Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group. "So what he did, yesterday, was just a follow-up to what we had done about three months ago. And what I want to assure you is that by the grace of God, Muhammadu Buhari will become President the second time.” He said the President had distinguished himself as his achievement in three years had surpassed that of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 16 years. 2018 budget: Saraki orders appropriations c'ttee to submit report next week By Henry Umoru A BUJA—WORRIED by the delay in passing of N8.612 trillion 2018 budget by the National Assembly, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, yesterday, mandated the Appropriation Committee, led by Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe Central), to submit its report next week. According to Saraki, the appropriations committee should tidy up reports from other sub-committees latest 6:00 pm on Friday for submission to the Senate next week. Saraki said: “The chairman, Appropriations should please ensure that by Friday this week, collection of reports from various committees ends. “There should be no more extension for that purpose because the He said: “For instance in the area of job creation for youths, no government has ever in one day employed 200,000 graduates. It has never happened but under Buhari N-Power it happened. “Through this, he has provided jobs for 200,000 families spread across the length and breadth of Nigeria. Government is still processing the employment of 300,000 more graduates to make it 500,000, this has never happened. In the areas of transport, works and housing, the last budget of the PDP government was less than N20 billion and most of these monies were stolen; diverted to private pockets." appropriation committee itself must submit its report to the Senate unfailingly next week.” Consideration of the 2018 budget estimates by both chambers of the National Assembly, after its presentation on November 7, 2017, by President Muhammadu Buhari has been at committee levels since December last year. Saraki’s directive was sequel to earlier announcement made on the floor of the Senate via a letter by chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central) extending time for submission of reports by the various committees to Friday. The two chambers of the National Assembly had before embarking on the Easter break on Thursday , March 29 , 2018, fixed April 24 for passage of the budget. Abacha loot: FG confirms recovery of $322.51m from Switzerland ABUJA—THE Federal Government confirmed, yesterday, that it has received $322.51 million from the Swiss government as part of looted funds recovered from former Head of State, the late General Sani Abacha. Special Adviser, Media and Communications to Minister of Finance, Oluyinka Akintunde, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja. According to Akintunde, the Federal Government received the money in December 2017. He said there was no controversy surrounding the recovery of stolen funds in the custody of the former head of state from the Swiss government. He said: “The minister wishes to dissociate herself and the Federal Ministry of Finance from recent reports on the Abacha refunds. “The minister had at no time written any letter to the President or any member of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, on the payment of lawyers for the Abacha loot recovery. “She also refutes the flawed reports of controversy surrounding the Abacha loot recovery. “We wish to state that $322,515,931.83 was received into a Special Account in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on December 18, 2017, from the Swiss government. “For the avoidance of doubt, there is no controversy concerning the recovery of the Abacha monies from the Swiss Government,” he said. Akintunde said the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, frowned on a recent report that she objected to the payment of $16.9 million to two lawyers who recovered the Abacha loot. In 1999, the Federal Government hired Mr Enrico Monfrini, a Swiss lawyer, to recover the Abacha loot.
VANGUARD, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018—9 :Vanguard News :@vanguardnews :@vanguardnews NEWS HOTLINES: 08052867023, 08052867058 2019: Buratai sets up standing court martial for officers exposed to politicians •Warns GOCs, PSOs, field commanders By Kingsley Omonobi & Joseph Erunke ABUJA—AS activities for the 2019 general elections gather steam, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Buratai, has ordered the setting up of a standing special court martial to try senior army officers found complicit in favouring political groups and showing partisanship to politicians. Consequently, the Army chief warned that any Army personnel found hobnobbing with politicians or being partisan, will be investigated and sent to the special court martial for trial. Buratai, who spoke at the opening of COAS First Quarter Conference 2018 in Abuja, told senior officers, including Principal Staff Officers, GOCs, Commandants of Tri-service institutions and Field Commanders, that any one that runs foul of his professional ethics would be dealt with appropriately. He said: “I must state clearly that any officer or soldier who wishes to be sympathetic to a political, religious or ethnic group should voluntarily retire from the Nigerian Army. “Furthermore, all are reminded on the ban on any form of worship outside the barracks, except those permitted for wedding and other social functions. “Therefore, officers and soldiers must restrain themselves from any act of political, religious or ethnic patronization as these would attract severe consequences. The fate of the 38 officers, who were retired (on account of alleged involvement in politics) is still fresh in our memories.” While noting that concerns had been recently raised by individuals and groups about the actions of some units and formations in the course of operations, Buratai said: “This has led to very strong criticisms against the Nigerian Army. Some of the strongest comments have come from key citizens in Taraba State. “Therefore, let me state emphatically that the unity and integrity of Nigeria lie on the military and Nigerian Army in particular. Any act inimical to the unity and integrity of this country by personnel of the Nigerian Army will be decisively dealt with. “The Nigerian Army must remain apolitical and professionally responsive in the discharge of its constitutional roles. GOCs and field commanders at all levels are, therefore, warned that anyone that flouts his professional ethics will be appropriately dealt with.” Army launches electronic payment system for troops in operations The Army chief used the opportunity to launch the Nigerian Army Integrated Payment System aimed at electronically capturing all financial transactions, including salary payments, operational allowances and equipment purchase payments for easy verification in terms of query. Chief of Accounts and Budget, Major General Ezra Jakko, explained that by keying into the Federal Government’s IPPIS scheme, the Nigerian Army Finance Corps had been able to substantially reduce and checkmate challenges arising from payment of salaries, particularly payment of allowances of troops in several operations across the country. VISIT: From left, Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; FCT Minister, Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Isu-Gekpe, during a courtesy visit by Information and Culture Minister, in Abuja, yesterday. Sukuk proceeds being well utilised, says DMO DG By Emma Ujah ABUJA—THE proceeds of N100 billion Sukuk are being applied to infrastructure development across the country, Director -General of Debt Management Office, DMO, Ms. Patience Oniha, has said. She spoke at the beginning of the inspection of roads being constructed with the proceeds of the bond. The proceeds were designated for the financing of 25 road projects across the six geopolitical zones of the country. From the list of road projects made available to the public when the Sukuk was issued, these were major roads that will facilitate the movement of people, goods and services to contribute to economic growth and development. It would be recalled that the current administration had prioritised investment in infrastructure as a major focus in its plans for the growth of the economy and job creation. The Sukuk represents a promise kept and a step forward in Nigeria’s drive for the development of infrastructure, which is in line with Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, launched by the government in 2017. The team visited Abuja- Abaji-Lokoja Road, Obajana-Okene Road, Suleja-Minna Road and Kaduna Eastern Bypass Road. During the inspection, the team assessed progress on the work that had been done as well as ongoing rehabilitation and construction works on the roads. The team interacted with various contractors handling the projects. The inspection revealed that significant amount of work had been done and the contractors expressed their appreciation for the Sukuk, which assured them of prompt payment for work done. The Sukuk has incentivised the contractors to accelerate work on the selected roads because of the confidence that the government had dedicated funds already in place to pay them upon completion of milestones. Buhari writes Senate, seeks confirmation of 23 NPC nominees, others By Henry Umoru ABUJA— PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has written three letters to the Senate, seeking the screening and subsequent confirmation of 23 nominees for National Population Commission, NPC, one national commissioner for Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and two new nonlegal practitioners for Federal Judicial Service Commission. President Buhari in the first letter addressed to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, dated March 27, 2018, is seeking the confirmation of the appointment of Mr Festus Okoye as a Federal Commissioner for INEC, representing the South East geo-political zone . In the second letter dated March 27, 2018 and received by the office of the Senate President, April 10, 2018, the President is seeking the confirmation of membership appointments into the Federal Judicial Service Commission as nonlegal practitioners. The two nominees include Senator Abba Ali from Katsina State for the North West geo- political zone and Mohammed Sagir from Niger State for the North Central geo- political zone . In the third letter, which has the same date, President Buhari sought the confirmation of 23 newly appointed commissioners for National Population Commission, NPC. Buhari also forwarded a letter of condolence to the Senate over the deaths of Senators Ali Wakili (APC Bauchi South) and Mustapha Bukar (APC Katsina North). While Senator Wakili died on March 17, 2018, Senator Bukar died eight days ago. Their death explains the reason the Senate adjourned yesterday till today, immediately after adoption of its votes and proceedings of Thursday, March 29, 2018, when it embarked on Easter recess. Why military, others are engaging in internal security —IGP By Joseph Erunke A BUJA—THE Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, said, yesterday, that the many challenges faced by police in handling insecurity in the country gave room to other security outfits to participate in internal security operations. N11bn fraud: Court fixes May 30 for continuation of ex-Katsina gov’s trial A Katsina State High Court, yesterday, fixed May 30 for continuation of hearing into the case of alleged financial misappropriation against former Katsina State governor, Ibrahim Shema, and three others. The accused were arraigned on a 24-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy, fraud and using forged documents. The prosecution had said the alleged offences were contrary to sections 96, 311, 363, 366 and 85 of the Penal Code, cap 96 Laws of Katsina State 1991. EFCC dragged Shema and his former aides to court over alleged misappropriation of about N11 billion belonging to local governments in the state. The anti-graft agency had said it took the step, following a petition presented by Katsina State government to the commission on the issue. Others being tried along with Shema are Hamisu Makana, a former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Lawal Rufai, former permanent secretary in the ministry, and ex-ALGON chairman, Lawal Dankaba. All the four had pleaded not guilty to the charges. After taking their plea, the prosecution and defence counsels told the court that they were ready for the trial. Idris said the police had limitations in tackling the emerging internal security, noting that it was the place of the service to singlehandedly police the country within. The police chief spoke when he received 2018 course participants of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, who were on a study visit to the Force Headquarters, Abuja. According to the police boss,who addressed the members of Group Six of Senior Executive Course 40 of NIPSS, through Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Finance and Administration, Mr Shuaibu Gambo, providing internal security is very important to the police. While noting that the police had a lot to contribute in resolving security challenges in the country, Idris said: “Nigeria Police Force is in the forefront when it comes to internal security.” He regretted that other security agencies had become visible in internal security due largely to some challenges militating against the operations of the police. According to him, any nation faced with internal security problem cannot achieve the desired development needs of its people.