Nigeria Today: Top 5 Headlines

10 September, 2018 | Chik

These are the headlines...

FG Denies Using TradeMoi As Political Gimmick for 2019 Elections


The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, yesterday 9th September 2018 cleared allegations that the president’s sudden interest in the lending money to traders through the Trademoi scheme is steeped in political agendas.

Akande also clarified that the beneficiaries of the N10,000 collateral free loan are not required to provide their Permanent Voters Cards, (PVC) before accessing the loan as earlier implied by the media.

He said, “The petty traders are not required to show PVC, or any document for that matter, they are only expected to show they are petty traders and this is why the enumeration is done in the markets and wherever the traders ply their trades.”

Akande also addressed the timing of the Trademoi scheme saying that the credit scheme was part of the Social Investment Programme of the Buhari presidency, and had commenced in 2016.

He said, “Must we then suspend the empowerment of the traders just because some people will insinuate motivations? The petty traders whose trades and lives are being positively impacted as they receive the N10,000 are telling a different story from those making political insinuations. And it is their stories that inspire us. “Nigerians already know that the Buhari Administration is one that is projecting the interests of the common man, Nigerians who are at the lower rungs, and this is not a new perception at all.”

The zero interest loans will be introduced in Oyo, Cross Rivers, and Kaduna States this week has already kicked off in Lagos, Kano, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Katsina, Osun, FCT, and Kogi.



APC Replies David Mark, Atiku Over Restructuring

The verbal battle between the PDP presidential aspirants, David Mark, Atiku Abubakar and the All Progressives Congress, (APC) has failed to lose fire as APC yesterday September 9th referred to the opposition as playing to the gallery on the issue.

The APC in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena asked both presidential aspirants, who have both served in office, why they hadn’t backed up any restructuring policies during their regime.

The statement read: “Prof. Osinbajo in his well-articulated response to Alhaji Atiku submitted that what Nigeria requires now is not geographic restructuring but good governance, honest management of public resources, deeper fiscal Federalism and a clear vision for development. The All Progressives Congress, APC, cannot agree more with Prof. Osinbajo. It must be said that the calls for restructuring by many politicians are often times a populist and opportunistic ploy to latch on and politically exploit simplistic public narratives on the panacea to Nigeria’s problems and not necessarily for its realism and practicability. We must never succumb to ethnic champions who promote campaigns to break up the country into tiny bits or other unrealistic and unpatriotic proposals in the name of restructuring to solve our problems as a country. It is simplistic and unconstitutional.”

“For instance, Alhaji Atiku was Vice-President and Chairman of the National Economic Council throughout the eight years of the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration. How did he use his office to correct the imbalance in our federation he expresses today? Senator David Mark was Senate President for eight years and never sponsored a motion on restructuring. Today he is promising to restructure the country. We must be wary of latter-day converts to the matter of restructuring, exploiting the issue for populist political campaigns. As Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo submitted, good governance involves transparency and prudence in public finance, it involves social justice, investing in the poor and providing jobs and opportunities for the people, particularly young people. This remains the focus of the current administration as seen by the several social intervention programmes currently being implemented. Commendably, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to implementing a New National Minimum wage.”

The PDP immediately responded to the statement through their spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondinyan saying, “Why are they running away from their promises? It is not enough to ask what former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and ex-Senate President, David Mark, did on restructuring while they were in office. They (APC) promised Nigerians restructuring, and they should walk their talk. If they believe in restructuring, they should go ahead and implement the 2014 confab report. The whole answers are there but like we have always said, the APC is afraid of the fate that awaits them and their likely Presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari. They have been rejected by Nigerians.”

“The PDP is optimistic of its chances, and by the grace of God, this country will be restructured to give every citizen a country he or she can be proud of,” he said.

Atiku also responded through his campaign spokesman, Segun Sowunmi saying, “We are not going to bandy words with the APC neither are we going to allow them to use semantics to cover up a major issue that is very important. “he fact of the issue is that they put their campaign on restructuring and they have been here for more than three years, they have not been able to do anything on restructuring. Everybody in the country knows that Atiku Abubakar has been on the restructuring agenda since 1995 and he has been consistent on it. The kind of restructuring that Atiku Abubakar is talking about is the restructuring that gives more power to the states. All we know is that the APC unfortunately for them is playing to the gallery. Our position on restructuring is very much known and what we are saying is that the APC cannot pretend and after three years they are now beginning to wake up to the restructuring argument. We have had enough of the deceit, we have had enough of their make-belief, and we have had enough of their propaganda.”

David Mark also learnt this voice in response through his media aide, Mr. Paul Mumeh said, “It is understandable that the APC would accuse me of being a new convert to restructuring in view of their many failed promises to the Nigerian people. I will not make promises like them. My antecedent over the years, especially during my tenure as Senate President, is a testimony that I will always act in the nation’s best interest. My position is anchored on the feedback from Nigerians, and as a leader, in my own right, I have to act in consonance with the wishes of the people. My experience in the last few years shows that a leader is only effective if he listens to the people. The issues of insecurity and the dwindling economic fortune of Nigeria makes it imperative that something has to be done by way of restructuring. Rarely has our country been faced with such a state of uncertainty, despair, suspicion, and division. If restructuring is the answer, why not now? I am a pan-Nigerian, I believe in the sanctity of our unity. Anything that will unite and prosper Nigeria would be my interest and concern. I believe restructuring is the way to go. For once, Nigerians across the geopolitical zones and various ethnic nationalities are of the consensus and, indeed, united on the subject, restructuring. I believe restructuring anchored on fairness, equity and justice would strengthen our bond of brotherhood and unity. I will always act in the nation’s best interest.”



FG Explains Delay in Signing Electoral Act Amendment Bill

Senior Special Assistant to President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu in a statement released yesterday, 9th September 2018 has explained the reason behind the President’s refusal to sign the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

According to Shehu, the draft of the bill contained flaws which have been returned to the National Assembly for amendments. He also added that the delay will in no way affect the use of card readers in the 2019 elections.

The statement read this, “The Presidency rejects allegations of opposition politicians, as well as some newspaper editorial opinions creating the impression that President Muhammadu Buhari is against e-voting, the use of card readers in the upcoming elections, hence his decision to decline assent, for the third time, to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018.

“We wish to state in clear and unambiguous terms that the issue of e-voting and use of card readers was NEVER an issue for the President’s decision to decline assent to the Bill.

“It is equally important that this issue was not raised either by the Executive or the Legislature in the recent reviews. Moreover, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) adoption of e-voting reforms is enshrined in the 2015 Amendment Act to the Electoral Reform Act. Card reader is, therefore, a settled matter.

“The President’s recent decision to decline assent to the Bill has no effect whatsoever on INEC’s use of card readers.

“Regrettably, purveyors of ‘fake news’ have been quick to churn out sensational headlines such as that of a leading newspaper, which screamed: “Card Reader in Jeopardy, Buhari Rejects Electoral Act Amendment Bill Again.”

“Unfortunately, most of the critics of the President, including the editorial of a national daily this morning read out parts of the letters, as made available by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, detailing the issues that were of concern to the government.

“An issue has been raised by the President concerning some ill-prepared and flawed parts of the bill for which corrections needed to be made to allow for his signature. The President wanted engagement with the parliament for the corrections to be effected so that, at the end of the day, both arms of government will be happy with the fact that we have a good electoral law in place.

“The President is not in confrontation with the parliament on this issue. He has asked his officials to dialogue with the legislature for the corrections to be effected. As for his alleged rejection of the card reader, nothing can be farther from the truth.”

“The President is the country’s number one fan of the card reader. For a candidate who ran three times and “lost” in an electoral environment in which votes were allocated and losers asked to go to court if they felt unhappy, the President knows full well the role that the card reader played in his emergence in 2015. He has said times without number that he would strengthen and widen its application in the country and this, he is determined to do.

“Accordingly, we would like to appeal, especially to the media to disregard baseless allegations against the President, even as he puts in his best efforts in working with the National Assembly to give the nation a good electoral law, and in time. The card reader is not in danger of being discarded. It is a sine qua non for credible elections. We appeal to the National Assembly to reconvene as soon as possible to consider and approve the necessary corrections to the amended electoral act.”



Abuja-Kaduna bound train Crushed 52 Cows

The Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Ahmad Abdulrahman on Sunday, September 9th during a press conference in the state said that 52 cows had been killed by an Abuja-Kaduna bound train.

He said the incident took place at Kasarami in the Kagarko Local Government Area of the state.

They had received a distress call and upon getting to the location found that the cattle had been crushed by the speeding train.  

He added that 27 of the cattle were still alive, but had to be slaughtered and sold at low prices in order to avoid a total loss.

Abdulrahman explained that the Fulani herdsmen were on their way back to Katsina State when the incident happened.

The CP said, “When we got to the scene, we found out that contrary to earlier calls of insurgent attacks, what actually happened was an accident involving cows. Fulani herdsmen, who passed the night at Kasarami, asked if they could cross over with their cattle and were misinformed that there were no rail services on Sunday. It was when they were half-way that a fast moving train from Rigasa Station on the way to Abuja approached. I want to assure the people of Kaduna State that what happened was an accident and no life was lost; only the cattle. I had a meeting with their leaders and the farmers in the area to check a recurrence.”

The police boss called on residents to go about their lawful activities as the command was doing everything possible to safeguard lives and property in the state.


Impunity Will End Soon, Saraki Says

The president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on Sunday in Makurdi, assured Nigerians that the era of impunity would soon end in the country.

Saraki stated this during the thanksgiving service of Senator Barnabas Gemade’s 70th birthday at the NKST, low level, Makurdi.

Saraki said that the upper chamber of the National Assembly under his leadership would continue to stand against impunity.

He said that the National Assembly would also continue to stand with the people of Benue State.

While congratulating Gemade on his 70th birthday, Saraki described him as a man of integrity who had remained firm in the defence of his people on the floor of the Senate.

Also speaking at the church service, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, appreciated members of the National Assembly for rising against impunity being perpetrated in the state and other parts of the country.

The governor said the travail of the past few months had enabled the people of Benue State to know their true friends.

Ortom said that the Senate President and other members of the National Assembly had indeed shown that they were true friends of the Benue people when impunity was being supervised in the state.

He urged Saraki to remain courageous in defending the rule of law and ensuring that Nigerians got justice.

The governor said Gemade had impacted many lives positively, saying that when he was the Managing Director, Benue Cement Company; a minister, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party and now as a senator, Gemande had recorded many remarkable achievements.

Earlier, Gemade thanked many people who had contributed to his success in life.

He said he was happy to attain the age of 70, especially as God had helped him to touch many lives.