The major challenges during my tenure – Ex-president, Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday identified bunkering and vandalism as the “most challenging problems” that confronted his eight-year tenure as Nigeria’s President.

Obasanjo made the remark at his Hill top residence in Abeokuta when he received Mr Ade Abolurin (rtd), the former Corp Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC).

He said that in his bid to effectively tackle vandalism, he ensured that he institutionalised the NSCDC through an Act of Parliament.

Obasanjo said he had no regret for doing that because the corp had turned out to be one of the government agencies that “I am very, very proud of.”

“Some of the things that I had to confront during my tenure as President of Nigeria were pipeline vandalism, holdup, and stealing of crude oil.

“That stealing is what they call bunkering; there is nothing like bunkering, it is outright stealing.”
“We used all the available agencies and resources; and your organisation as a voluntary organisation, unpaid, unremunerated, unrecognised and not institutionalised, was doing great job without being armed and without being equipped.

“That meant the height of commitment, nationalism, patriotism and service to fatherland and service to humanity.

“Of course, I didn’t hesitate to move ahead for an Act of Parliament to be able to organise you into what you are today,” he said.

Obasanjo commended Abolurin for leading the organisation to an enviable height.

He expressed hope that his successor would be able to maintain, if not improve on the standard left behind by Abolurin.

He said: “one of the major problems of this country is lack of continuity.

“I hope in your own case and this organisation, there would be continuity; continuity not for the man coming after you to do everything exactly like you have done it.

“It is not possible even if the person coming after you is your biological son, he wouldn’t do everything the way you would want to do it.

“As I am talking to you, I am also talking to your successor and I believe that where you have taken this organisation to, those coming after you will be able to build over it.”

Obasanjo said there were some essential things that should be preserved and maintained, especially the issue of value, integrity, commitment, patriotism.

“Those cherished values and virtues that you have maintained in this organisation should be maintained,” he said.

Earlier, Abolurin, an indigene of Abeokuta, said he escaped several attempts to assassinate him while office.

“The journey was rough, tough and challenging but I was able to stand tall and I am returning a champion and conqueror,” he said and promised to stay in touch with his successor.

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Flood destroys two communities in Yobe

Thousands of people have been displaced by heavy down pour in two communities in Yobe State.

The heavy rain which started late on Monday night through the early hours of Tuesday sacked Ngelzarma and Jajare communities all in Fune Local Government area of Yobe State.

According to reports, no life was lost in the two incidents but eyewitnesses informed that more than half of Ngelzarma community a village located on the Damaturu/Potiskum road less than 50km away from Damaturu was affected.

The State Deputy Governor Engr. Abubakar Aliyu visited the people and sympathised with them over the disaster.

He directed the ministry of works to take an accurate and professional assessment of the area so as to come up with a lasting solution to the problem.

Engr. Aliyu also asked the State Emergency Management Agency to provide immediate palliative for the victims who are temporarily camped at the primary school in the community.

The Executive Secretary of SEMA Idi Jidawa, told our correspondent on phone that he has already dispatched two teams to Ngelzarma and Jajare and that priority is currently on the provision of shelter for the displaced people.

Jidawa also informed that “the flood in Jajare is so severe that my team to the area could not access the village from the route they followed. They will have to take another route tomorrow to access the village. From what I gathered, the entire village has been surrounded by water,” the SEMA boss said.

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Police uncovers another kidnappers’ den in Oyo

The Oyo State Police Command has uncovered another kidnappers’ den at Oyagbe area in Oyo town,‎ where different atrocities are committed.

The State Commissioner of Police, Muhammad Katsina, who led journalist to the den on Tuesday, disclosed that the place has been a deserted hotel belonging to one Olatunji Kabiru who is now in police custody.‎

He also stated that the men of the state command had arrested five kidnappers in connection with the kidnappers’ hideout.

Katsina while parading the suspects added that a victim Husseni Sani was rescued from the den of the kidnappers in Oyo Town area of the state.

According to him, the Kidnappers had come all the way from Benin Republic and moved to Kwara State and finally settled at the Atiba Local Government of Oyo state.

He said:” Today (Tuesday) we are happy to announce that a ground breaking discovery was made yet again and this time in Oyo town where some wicked individuals kidnapped a fellow human for ransom. We have so far arrested 5 people connected with the crime including the hotelier, and the victim Saki Fulani is now in our custody.

The hotelier, Olatunji Kabiru a former counsellor of ward one, Atiba Local Govt of Oyo State, said that the kidnapper had come to him asking for three room for two weeks which he claimed that a deposit of N5,000 was giving to him.

Kabiru said that he was not aware that they were kidnappers and that he got to know about their activities when the police came knocking at his door step.

The kidnapped victim, Hussein Sani, a cattle rearer from Ikoyi Ile, Kajoola Local government in Oyo town, said that he had been kidnapped at Ogbomoso and was fed rice and Coke for 14 days.

He said that the kidnappers had demanded N1million and threatened to kill him and his elder brother if he was unable to pay.

In his reaction, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, thanked the police and other defense agencies for their swift action at clamping down on the suspected kidnappers.

He said that the prompt and assertive move of the police contributed immensely to the discovery of the hideout, adding that community members be more careful in their various activities.

“I thank men of the police and other security agencies, for a job well done for bursting the crimes in this part of the state which is very surprising to us in this area. The prompt actions of the Police contributed to the immense discovery of the kidnappers, I must add that such people should not be allowed to exist in our societies.”

He however, called on the public to always inform the police when they suspect any unholy activities around their environment.

“I have to say at this juncture that it is everybody’s duty to be alert over the happens in their environment and keep the police informed about dangerous activities in their environment,” Alaafin said

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I’m very eager to prove my critics wrong – Sunday Oliseh

New Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh is determined to show he has the managerial ability to disprove the critics who say he lacks the experience needed for the job.

The 40-year-old former Borussia Dortmund and Juventus midfielder signed a three-year deal last month and succeeded Stephen Keshi, who was sacked at the start of July.

Oliseh coached the Belgian lower league side Vervietois between 2008 and 2009 and since then he’s been working as a pundit, sport consultant and Fifa Technical committee member. He spoke with John Bennett of BBC World Service Sport

“People are saying I’ve never coached at this level before,” Oliseh said.

“The only answer I can give is, can they name to me one African former player that has been able to coach any first division team in Europe?

“It’s not a question of lack of effort, I got my coaching badge from the English Football Association more than five years ago, I’ve been working with the Fifa technical study group so it’s not through lack of trying.

“It’s a question of the fact that at this moment there doesn’t seem to be opening for African coaches in Europe.

“Eventually we will get there, I am very optimistic. We will break the barriers someday.”
How tough will the job be?

“The football in our nation has never been so low.

“Even in the early 1990s when players were just leaving the country we had players playing in major leagues and even playing in the European Cup games.

“Now we virtually have nobody so relying on individual players at the level that they are to win games for you is something we have to forget and something that isn’t a reality.

“The only philosophy I think I can have now is to try to get the players to get results as a team and not individuals.

“The potential is there.”

How worrying is it to see Victor Moses and Mikel Obi on the bench at Chelsea?

“Players not playing regularly at their clubs is a huge problem because they might struggle with the rhythm.

“I’ve spoken to the majority of the players that may come into the reckoning to play, to be in the first pool of players that we are building. But they have to do something about it

“They are still young they need to think about playing now and it might not be bad for them to go out on loan and play and maybe get to a level where Chelsea will have them back to play and not just sit and watch.

“The player will decide his fate, it’s not for the national team to impose but I would advise them to play as much as possible.

“They will have to try and play as much as possible.”

Trying to widen the pool of talent for the Nigerian national team

“You can bet your money that I’m looking at players with Nigerian heritage who have been born or brought up in other countries, I have no choice.

“Most of these players, let’s be honest, very few of them get to play in other nations for a long time, whereas with Nigeria, these players have the chance of regularly, if they are good, to play in the World Cup.

“It’s definitely something we are looking at and we’ve started making moves.

“They are welcome with open arms and we’ll do all we can to put them in the best situation if they decide to play for Nigeria because Nigeria needs them and they also need Nigeria to become top, world class players.”

Culled from BBC World Service Sport

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NNPC failed to remit N2.5trn crude oil sales proceeds – NRGI

An international governance watchdog, the Natural Resource Governance Institute, NRGI, Tuesday, accused the NNPC of failing to remit $12.3 billion, about N2.46 trillion into the Federation Account, being proceeds of sales of one of Nigeria’s crude oil grade over the last ten years.

The NRGI, in a report titled, “Inside NNPC Oil Sales: A Case for Reform in Nigeria’, said its research found no evidence that NNPC forwarded to the treasury any revenues from sales of Okono crude between 2005 and 2014, volumes which totaled over 100 million barrels with an estimated value of $12.3 billion.

“In other words, the corporation has provided no public accounting of how it used a decade’s worth of revenues from an entire stream of the country’s oil production,” the report stated.

The report further disclosed that the NNPC’s approach to oil sales suffers from high corruption risks, adding that company had failed to maximize returns for the nation.

According to the report over the last 38 years, the NNPC has neither developed its own commercial or operational capacities, nor facilitated the growth of the sector through external investment, noting that instead, it has spun a legacy of inefficiency and mismanagement.

The report lamented that in spite of the failings of the NNPC, especially in its debilitating consumption of public revenues, successive governments have made no effort to undertake a reform of the corporation.

It said, “We find that management of NNPC’s oil sales has worsened in recent years—and particularly since 2010. The largest problems stem from the rising number of ad hoc, makeshift practices the corporation has introduced to work around its deeper structural problems.

“For instance, NNPC entered into poorly designed oil-for-product swap deals when it could no longer meet the country’s fuel needs. Similarly, it began unilaterally spending billions of dollars in crude oil revenues each year, rather than transferring them to the treasury, because NNPC’s actual budget process fails to cover operating expenses.

“Some of these makeshift practices began with credible goals. But over time, their operation became overly discretionary and complex, as political and patronage agendas surpassed the importance of maximizing returns.

“These poor practices come with high costs. Average prices for the country’s light sweet crude topped $110 per barrel during the boom of 2011 to 2014. Yet during that same period, treasury receipts from oil sales fell significantly.

“While volumes lost to oil theft explain some of the decline, NNPC’s massive revenue withholdings and an increase in suboptimal sales arrangements are also to blame. “Mismanagement of NNPC oil sales also raises commercial, reputational and legal risk for actors worldwide: the sales involve some of the world’s largest commodity trading houses, are financed by top banks, and result in the delivery of crude to countries across the globe.”

To this end, the report called for an urgent deeper structural reform of the NNPC, especially in its management of oil sales, warning that if a reform is not undertaken, the country risks a new round of coping mechanism.

Continuing, the report said, “NNPC oil sales are Nigeria’s largest revenue stream and face severe problems. Fixing them should come first in the reform queue, before revisiting upstream contracts with international oil companies.

“Repairing oil sale governance does not require omnibus legislation like the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Rather, a bold and targeted agenda with a one-to-two-year timeline better suits Nigeria’s political timetables.

“When overhauling oil sales, the government should prioritize simplicity throughout. Current governance problems thrive on byzantine arrangements which only a handful of people understand.
“The bad practices that undermine NNPC oil sale performance all have political interference at their root. Only sustained leadership from the very top will shift incentives towards performance and away from patronage.”

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Buhari sacks Joseph Dawha, appoints Emmanuel Kachikwu as the new NNPC GMD

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sacked Dr. Joseph Dawha of his appointment as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President has subsequently appointed Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu as Dawha’s replacement.

Kachikwu, until his new appointment, was the Executive Vice Chairman and General Counsel of Exxon-Mobil (Africa).

He hails from Onicha-Ugbo in Delta State.

He is a First Class Graduate of Law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the Nigerian Law School.

He also has Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Law from the Harvard Law School.

He started his working career with the Nigerian/American Merchant Bank before moving on to Texaco Nigeria Limited where he remained for about eight years before joining ExxonMobil.

From TEXACO Nigeria Limited, Kachikwu, moved to Exxon-Mobil (Africa), where he was appointed the Executive Vice Chairman and General Counsel of Exxon-Mobil (Africa), sometime in 2012.

In 2013, Kachikwu was coronated as the Odogwu-designate of Onicha-Ugbo, by the Obi of Onicha Ugbo, Agbogidi Chukwumalieze I. The ceremony tagged “Ida Nzu” took place at the Ezechime Palace, of the Obi of Onicha-Ugbo.

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PICTURES: Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo visits Zambia to commission Dangote cement factory

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo commissioned a 1.5Mt Dangote Cement plant & 30MW coal-fired power plant in Ndola, Zambia today August 4. He was joined by Zambian President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu. More pictures below...

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‘Nothing in the US law prevents Nigeria from getting military equipment’

The United States of America has said it will work with Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram, saying it was determined to find the insurgents and deal with them wherever they may be.

A delegation from the U.S. Congress visits Buhari. By  @GarShehu

A United States Congressional delegation currently touring Nigeria, assured that President Barrack Obama would work with the Federal Government to defeat the insurgents.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, leader of the delegation, Darell Issa dismissed reports that the Leahy Amendment prevented the US from supplying arms to the Nigerian military.

The lawmaker stated that nothing under the American law stopped his country from providing technical support to Nigeria, stressing that the US government would provide the necessary technical support and training the military needed to defeat Boko Haram.

He said “I want to make one thing extremely clear; there have been reports about the candid discussions about the Leahy Amendment; nothing under current US laws prevents full cooperation and technical support, training for the Nigerian military and for all the departments of government. Those are on and will continue.

“Nothing in the law prevents USAID from its full engagement throughout Nigeria and nothing in the document will stop the United States from providing any and all assistance to the military.

“The changes that the president (Buhari) has promised, that the joint chiefs agreed to work on are changes that we embrace, that we would work with the government.”

Another member of the delegation, Sheila Lee urged Nigerians to unite against Boko Haram, regardless of geopolitical and ethno-religious affiliations.

She said, “Boko Haram, we will find you wherever you are and we ask that you recognise the human dignity of all people. Bring back those girls; release the people and respond to the generosity of those who will bring you to rehabilitation and training and to come into civil society and be the heroic Nigerians that you can be. Bring the girls back or we will come and find you wherever you are.”

Other members of the delegation are Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat-Texas) Randolph Blake Farenthold (Republican-Texas) and Frederica Wilson (Democrat- Florida)

Lee Wilson, said the revived relationship between Nigeria and the US is a new opportunity to stop Boko Haram which “is ruining the reputation of the entire Nigeria,” adding that the US Congress is solidly behind efforts to end terrorism in Nigeria.

“The institutional support that would come has everything to do with the confidence that the people of Nigeria should know that terrorists should be killed in the battle field but should be dealt with humanly when apprehended. I want to make it extremely clear, we came here to hear from the government and we heard what we wanted to hear loudly and clearly that they have a commitment for human rights support, they have a commitment to end the corruption that has robbed so much from the people of Nigeria and that in fact, democratic government is secure here in Nigeria.”

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NUT opposes JAMB cut-off mark

The Nigeria Union of Teachers has said it is strongly opposed to the current admission policy which pegged Joint Admission Matriculation Board cut-off marks for students seeking admission into universities at 180 and above while those for Polytechnics and Colleges of Education was put at 150 and above.

The union described the policy as highly discriminatory and “calculated at demeaning and lowering the professional status of teachers with its concomitant negative effect on the attainment of quality education in the country.”

A statement by the NUT Secretary-General, Obong Obong on Tuesday in Abuja, said the policy is a great disservice to the education sector as it placed the best brains and students of distinction in other courses while those with lower grades were pushed into teaching.

The association called for an immediate reversal of the policy, stressing that the government must henceforth ensure that only brilliant students are admitted for training as teachers in all educational institutions in the county.

It said, “This is the practice in most advanced and developed countries, where it is considered that a teacher’s ability to disseminate knowledge to students is dependent on his sound intellectual capability.

“This is how government deliberately source for people with lower educational content to become teachers only to turn around and blame them for poor delivery. If this is allowed to stand, government should take full responsibility for the resultant shortcomings that may be observed in our educational institutions in future from those teachers.”

The statement noted that the nation still have in abundance very brilliant and effective teachers in service who it said should be nurtured for effective service delivery.

This, the NUT added, was the reason it had been calling for the raising of the retirement age of teachers in primary and secondary schools to 65 years in order to tap maximally from “their fountain of knowledge.”

With such experienced teachers retained in service in primary and secondary schools, the union said young teachers would be able to fall back on them for mentoring.

It said, “We however wish to warn that the teaching profession must not be made an all-comers affair.

“The glorious old days of sound educational delivery cannot be reenacted by lowering admission standard for student teachers. The government must immediately address this abnormally in order to address the continuous decline in the quality of education.”

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Mining ministry’s presentation, demoralising – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday took on top officials of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development led by the Permanent Secretary, Baba Farouk, on illegal mining in the sector.

He described Farouk’s presentation to him that Nigeria’s mining sector had been infiltrated by “illegal aliens” who engage in unlawful mining activities as the most demoralising brief he has ever received since permanent secretaries of different ministries have been taking their turns to brief him of their activities.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said Buhari made his position known when Farouk and members of his team briefed him of their activities at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Shehu said the President warned that the Federal Government will no longer tolerate illegal mining and other improper activities that have inhibited the growth of Nigeria’s solid minerals sector.

He further quoted Buhari as saying that the mines and steel sector was very important for the diversification of the economy, expressing displeasure at Farouk’s report that the sector had been overrun by illegal miners.

“This is one of the most demoralising briefs I have received. The biggest threat to this country besides the Boko Haram is unemployment and the mining sector is key to employment creation.

“We cannot be held back on such a strategic industry that can give us much needed jobs and promote economic growth.

“There must be more seriousness in running this country and we are determined to instill that seriousness,” the President was quoted as saying.

Shehu said at a different fora, Buhari directed the Ministry of Environment to undertake a rigorous study of Lake Chad, with a view to bringing up proposals on how best to reverse the shrinking of the lake, which currently serves as a major source of livelihood for many.

He said, after receiving a briefing on the challenges facing the Ministry of Environment, the President noted that the security and economic challenges faced by member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission could be substantially ameliorated with an improvement in the economic value of the lake.

He also urged the Ministry of Environment to take up the challenge of researching cheaper ways of sourcing energy for cooking apart from firewood.

The Permanent Secretary, Nana Mede, told Buhari that Lake Chad had shrunk considerably from the 1960s, when it covered an area of more than 26,000 square kilometers, to less than one-tenth of that size at present.

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