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STATEMENT DELIVERED BY PRESIDENT BUHARI AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 73RD SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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STATEMENT DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT MUHAMMDU BUHARI AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 73RD SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (UNGA73) on SEPTEMBER 25, 2018.

On behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, I congratulate you, Madam President, on your well-deserved election as President of the 73rd General Assembly. As you embark on your assignment, I would like to assure you of Nigeria’s support in no less measure than that which we extended to your illustrious predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Miroslav Lajčák.
We appreciate the effective leadership he gave the 72nd Assembly with such dedication, commitment, and fairness to all member states. I also salute our distinguished Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres, who steered the affairs of the Secretariat with focused commitment to the collective UN pursuit of global peace and security, equity and justice, inclusiveness, women’s empowerment and human rights.
It is appropriate at this point to remember with deep sadness our late 7th Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Kofi’s significant contributions to the work of our Organisation have been acknowledged in the well-deserved tributes that poured in from around the world following his death.
We in Africa, while mourning the loss of this great son of ours and citizen of the world, take pride in the way he served humanity in a truly exemplary manner. He demonstrated, in his calm but determined manner, the virtues of compassion, dedication to the cause of justice, fairness and human rights He was a visionary leader who inspired hope even in the face of the most daunting challenges. He devoted his entire life’s career to the UN and the pursuit of its ideals and goals. The world is indeed a better place thanks to his exemplary service.
Madam President, during the past year, the world saw some positive results and encouraging signs from the bilateral and multilateral efforts of the international community to address conflicts, crises and threats to world peace. We particularly commend the efforts of the leaders of the United States, North Korea, and South Korea, to realise our shared goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. In this connection, we acknowledge the commitment to peace shown by President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-Un by initiating a historic Summit. We urge that they continue this positive engagement.
Regrettably, many of the crises and threats to peace and security around the world which we debated last year as we did over several previous years remain unresolved. In some cases, matters got worse. The continuing plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar, the protracted Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the wars in Yemen, and Syria, and the fight against international and local terrorism such as Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab come to mind. The terrorist insurgencies we face, particularly in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, are partly fuelled by local factors and dynamics, but now increasingly by the international Jihadi Movement, runaway fighters from Iraq and Syria and arms from the disintegration of Libya. In Myanmar, the carnage appears to have thankfully abated somewhat.
We commend the United Nations for staying focussed on the situation of the Rohingya people, to bring their suffering to an end, and hold to account the perpetrators of the atrocious crimes committed against innocent and vulnerable members of this community, including women, children and the old. The international community should strengthen its resolve to combat ethnic & religious cleansing everywhere. We support the UN’s efforts in ensuring that the Rohingya refugees are allowed to return to their homes in Myanmar with security, protection, and guarantee of citizenship.
We note the indication by the Government of Myanmar of its willingness to address these issues and we encourage them to do so expeditiously. In this context, Nigeria commends the Government and people of Bangladesh in particular and all other countries and organizations that have contributed to shouldering the burden of providing shelter and other vital assistance to the Rohingya Refugees. The carnage and the worsening humanitarian situations in Syria and Yemen continue unabated. But the international community cannot afford to give up on the Syrian and Yemeni people. We must pursue all efforts to find peaceful negotiated political solutions to these wars which cannot be won by force of arms alone. Regarding Syria, we hope that the UN sponsored Geneva process and the Sochi initiative, led by Russia, Iran, and Turkey advance this objective.
The International community must keep up the pressure to encourage the parties to pursue the path of dialogue, negotiations and inclusiveness in resolving their sectarian divides and bringing to an end the immense human suffering in Syria as well as Yemen.
We commend Turkey, Jordan, Greece, Germany, Italy and France for hosting the millions of the refugees fleeing these brutal conflicts. The situation in the Middle East, grave as it has always been, is now worsened by developments since our last meeting.
Nigeria continues to call on the Israelis and the Palestinians to make the necessary compromises in the interest of justice, peace and security, in line with our numerous UN resolutions and applicable international laws. Unilateral, arbitrary and insensitive actions only prolong the conflict and undermine world peace and security. The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza is an appalling result of unrestrained use of power. We urge both parties to re-engage in dialogue on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Quartet Roadmap and the Arab Peace Initiative, among others.
Nigeria reaffirms its unwavering support for a just two-state solution, negotiated without intimidation and with Israel and Palestine existing side-by-side in peace and security. The crises in the Middle East have deep roots and have remained unresolved for too long. Yet, we should not fall into self-defeating despair and conclude that they are not amenable to solution. We should draw inspiration from the remarkable leadership that got Ethiopia & Eritrea to restore long-lost hope for peace between them, a remarkable show of statesmanship which has now galvanised neighbouring countries, incl. Djibouti & Somalia to push for peace in the subregion. I believe that with hard work, commitment, and a disposition to compromise and necessary sacrifices, peace is achievable in the Middle East as well.
Most crises usually have a variety of festering causes and effects. It is the failure to address them early and effectively that lead to out- of- control conflicts. Addressing them includes national & Int’l collective actions which positively impact on peoples and communities.
Hence, ‘Making the United Nations relevant to all people: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and sustainable Societies’ which is the theme for this year’s General Assembly, is very apt indeed. Madam President, A topical consequence of the current conflicts around the world is the irregular migration of affected people from the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Africa, to Europe. Irregular migration entails huge avoidable loss of human lives, puts strains on services in host countries and communities, and fuels anti- immigrant and racist sentiments in Europe. That is why we welcome the successful conclusion of the negotiations on the first-ever Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and we look forward to its adoption in Marrakech later this year. The aim is to protect the rights of migrants worldwide, while addressing the concerns of countries of ‘origin’, ‘transit’, or ‘destination’ alike.
Migration is a constant in human affairs. We in Africa are grateful to countries who treat migrants with compassion and humanity — notably Germany, Italy and France. Irregular migration is not a consequence of conflicts alone, but of the effects of climate change and lack of opportunities at home. Climate Change remains one of the greatest challenges of our time. Very close to us at home, it is our lot in Nigeria, together with our neighbours around the Chad Basin, to live with the Climate change consequences of a drastically shrunk Lake Chad and the parching up of otherwise fertile arable lands. The Lake was a major source of livelihood to more than 45 million inhabitants of the region. Its shrinking meant loss of livelihoods and they are now rendered poor and vulnerable to the activities of extremists and terrorist groups. The instability thus caused in the sub-region intensified internal displacements leading, among other consequences, to intense economic competition especially between farmers and herdsmen.
This is why we continue to call for a rededicated international engagement to accelerate the recovery efforts in the Lake Chad Basin to address the root causes of the conflicts in the region. What is required is continuous and robust UN cooperation with national Governments and sub-regional and regional organisations such as the Lake Chad Basin Commission, ECOWAS and the African Union, to enhance capacity in conflict prevention, conflict management and peace building. With regard to the Lake Chad Basin plight, I extend our heartfelt appreciation to the United Nations, the Governments of Germany, Norway, the United States, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France and a host of other development partners for their laudable support in assisting us to address both the humanitarian challenges and the on-going stabilisation drive in the region.
Madam President, corruption within countries and illicit flow of funds across national boundaries have huge negative impact on the stability, peace, and economic prospects of millions in developing countries. Corruption significantly deprives national Governments of resources to provide meaningful livelihoods to their populations who are predominantly youths, thus giving rise to more irregular migration. The fight against corruption, therefore, involves us all. It is in our collective interest to cooperate in tracking illicit financial flows, investigate and prosecute corrupt individuals and entities and repatriate such funds to their countries of origin.
Fighting corruption or resolving Int’l conflicts, crises and wars; defeating terrorism & piracy; curbing arms trafficking & proliferation of small arms & light weapons which fuel these conflicts, particularly in Africa; stemming irregular migration by addressing its root causes; and the many other global challenges we are faced with today can only be effectively addressed through multilateral cooperation and concerted action.
The only global institutional framework we have to address these challenges is the United Nations System. That is why we continue to call for the strengthening of the Organisation and making it more effective by speeding up the pace of progress towards its reform, including that of its principal organ, the Security Council. The reconstitution of the Security Council to make it more equitable and more representative of our global community is both a political and moral imperative. We believe that a reformed Security Council with expanded membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, is in accord with prevailing international consensus and it is in our collective interest to do so. It is high time we stopped skirting round the issue and established achievable benchmarks and time frames for these reforms.
I assure you all that in this advocacy, I am only reflecting Nigeria’s deep and abiding commitment to our Organisation and its founding principles and goals. From the date we joined in 1960, we have contributed our quota to the fulfillment of the mandate of the UN. We have been active participants in many Security Council and African Union authorised Peace Keeping operations around the world, beginning with the Democratic Republic of Congo operations in 1960. Furthermore, Nigeria has always mobilised the required human and material resources to achieve set United Nations goals, including the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
We are resolute in complementing the efforts and examples of the United Nations to promote gender equality and youth empowerment as necessary pillars for sustainable development. Without these, there can be neither enduring peace nor security. As we set and implement our national policies to achieve these goals, we, in the spirit of international solidarity, will readily cooperate with other nations seeking to achieve similar goals for their own populations to help ensure that no one is left behind.

I thank you all for your attention.

 

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Nigerian President vows to return recovered monies to treasury

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President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that monies recovered from the properties confiscated by the EFCC will be sold and kept in the Country’s treasury for National development.
He made the promise while addressing the mammoth crowd in Hausa at the Presidential flag off ceremony which held earlier in Kaduna.
He promised that his administration would use all the recovered looted funds for the well-being of the citizens and reassured that, his administration, if re-elected in the 2019 general election, will continue to make life easier for all Nigerians.
“All those funds, properties and companies recovered so far would be sold and proceeds returned to the treasury”, he stressed.
Bumper Harvest
While speaking on the Agric sector, he said farmers in the Country had bumper harvest following the availability of fertilizers provided at the cost of N5,500 as against the N9000 it used to be and had been provided in each of the local government areas of the Country.
“We have stopped spending our foreign reserve to import rice, as there is sufficiency in rice and we now produce it locally. Therefore, I am thanking governors, especially those of Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa and Ebonyi States who have tried in the production and processing of our local rice,” he noted.
While promising to do more to improve the economy, Buhari said, larger population of the Country are youths between the ages of 35 and below, Nigeria has lots of work to do, to get them employment and sufficiency.
Appreciating the people of Kaduna State who turned out in large number to welcome him, the President said that, “I have nothing to say than to remind you of the situation we met this Country and the promises we made to you. So the best we can do for our Country is to return the APC to power.
“The biggest gift we can give to our Country is security and sufficiency and economic prosperity,” he added.

Security Situation
The President further stated that the APC administration had so far addressed the security situation in the country, as the 17 local government areas, which were hitherto under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East had been recaptured.
According to the President, “There is no one local government in the North East remaining in the hands of the insurgents. But they resorted to using youth, especially young girls as suicide bombers, by sending them to markets, motor parks and worship centres to kill people. Even that had been brought under control”.
While expressing gratitude to the people of Kaduna state, he however stressed that, the mandate given to him requires the support of entire Nigerians, especially for peace and economic development of the Country.
Corruption and Insecurity
On the fight against corruption, Buhari said, as promised in 2014, his administration would continue the fight against corruption and insecurity in the Country, “the anticorruption fight in the current democratic dispensation is difficult compared to the period I was a Military Head of State, when those who looted the economy were arrested and prosecuted easily”.
He however promised that those who have looted the country would be investigated and prosecuted in the course of time.
Speaking on the militancy in the oil producing areas of the Niger Delta, the President said the federal government was engaging them in dialogue to make them understand that the Country belong to all Nigerians.
“The Constitution has spelt out the percentage that should be provided for the oil rich region and every other resources belong to all Nigerians irrespective of where such resources are located”.

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‘I wasn’t banned in US’ , Atiku Tells VOA Hausa Service in Washington DC – Full Transcript

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In an interview with VOA Hausa Service in Washington DC, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said stories that he was banned from the United States was ‘disinformation’.
He spoke on Thursday, after his arrival to the US capital, where he lodged at Trump International Hotel.
Here is the transcript of the interview conducted by VOA’s Aliyu Mustapha Sokoto
VOA: What has been in the news for many years has come to past right now I’m together with the former Vice President of Nigeria and the Presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after he had just returned from some interactive session with some high ranking Congress Men and Women. Your excellency, now that you have visited Washington D.C, does it have to do with those who said you cannot come to the United State of America or the visit is for what purpose?
Atiku: Aliyu I told you before that my coming to the United State is in the hands of Americans if they decided to issue a Visa to me I will definitely come and if they refused to give me I cannot come. And now they have issued it to me and I am here. I’m having some positive discussions with some of the officials. I was in the Congress and I had discussions with some high ranking Congress men and Women about Nigeria and how Nigeria intends to improve her relationship with the United States of America.
VOA: After visiting the Congress, do you intend to meet with some other people?
Atiku: Yes, by tomorrow (Friday) I will go to the State Department in order to have vital discussions with some of their officials.
VOA: Will you also meet with the members of the United States Chamber of Commerce?
Atiku: Yes, I will meet them tomorrow (Friday) by the Grace of God.
VOA: Who invited you to the United State?
Atiku: I was invited by many organizations in United States.
VOA: Before some people are saying that you cannot come to the United States of America but now you are here people will stop doubting.
Atiku: The whole thing is about misinformation
VOA: What do you mean by misinformation?
Atiku: Because for a very long time they have been lying to them (Nigerians) and they agreed; I tried to explain to them but they refused to listen. And I hope now people are going to understand.
VOA: Your coming to America has shown that you are going to have some interactions with some top officials of the United State are they in support of your candidacy?
Atiku: Yes.
VOA: Are you convinced that the United States Government are in support of your candidacy?
Atiku: There is no doubt because the United State is ready to support any country that is practicing democracy.
VOA: People know you as a businessman; do you think that your business background and experience will influence the United States Government to support you?
Atiku: One good thing is that Nigeria is a country that is practicing democracy and everyone knows that we have played a significant role and have done a lot to sustain democratic governance in Nigeria and it is very important.

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Atiku Abubakar US Case History – Full Text

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For more than 13 years, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria and now presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, kept away from the United States.

PDP Presidential candidate @atiku and DG Campaign @BukolaSaraki with Congressman Smith.

Once, the US even turned down his request for a visa.
But on Thursday, he landed in Washington DC for talks with some American officials on his campaign in Nigeria. His visit, said to have been facilitated by his former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo and other lobbyists, threw up questions as to why he had avoided America in the first place.
What is known is that nine years ago, there was a US Senate Committee report detailing money laundering activities against him, including being a recipient of a bribe by Siemens.
The Committee known as the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was chaired by Senator Carl Levin.
The probe was motivated by US government concern about corruption in the Third World and its corrosive effects on the development of honest government, democratic principles, and the rule of law.
“It is also blamed for distorting markets, deterring investment, deepening poverty, undermining international aid efforts, and fostering crime. Some have drawn connections between corruption, failed states, and terrorism. Corruption also continues to be a massive problem. The World Bank has estimated that $1 trillion in bribes alone exchange hands worldwide each year,” the committee noted in its bulky report.
Abubakar was not the only foreign Politically Exposed Person(PEP) probed by the committee. He had company in Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, now the 48-year-old son of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo, the President of Equatorial Guinea (EG), late President of Gabon, Omar Bongo and three Angolan PEP accounts, involving an Angolan arms dealer, an Angolan government official, and a small Angolan private bank.
The committee submitted its report on 4 February 2010, three years after Abubakar left office as Nigeria’s vice president.

Atiku met with representatives of Nigerians in D.C metropolis. Discussed my plans and commitment to work with the diaspora to get Nigeria working again.

The report unveiled violations of US laws by Abubakar and his fourth wife, Jennifer Douglas. It also included revelations about Siemens bribe paid into one of the accounts, and it possibly provided the basis for Abubakar being barred from entering the United States, since then.
This Report examines how politically powerful foreign officials, their relatives, and close associates – referred to in international agreements as Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) – have used the services of U.S. professionals and financial institutions to bring large amounts of suspect funds into the United States to advance their interests. Using four case histories, this Report shows how some PEPs have used U.S. lawyers, real estate and escrow agents, lobbyists, bankers, and even university officials, to circumvent U.S. anti-money laundering and anti- corruption safeguards. This Report also offers recommendations to stop the abuses.
Here is a summary of the report:
The (Atiku) Case History.
From 2000 to 2008, Jennifer Douglas, a U.S. citizen and the fourth wife of Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and former candidate for President of Nigeria, helped her husband bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States through wire transfers sent by offshore corporations to U.S. bank accounts.
In a 2008 civil complaint, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Ms. Douglas received over $2 million in bribe payments in 2001 and 2002, from Siemens AG, a major German corporation.
While Ms. Douglas denies wrongdoing, Siemens has already pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges and settled civil charges related to bribery and told the Subcommittee that it sent the payments to one of her U.S. accounts.
In 2007, Mr. Abubakar was the subject of corruption allegations in Nigeria related to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund.
Of the $40 million in suspect funds, $25 million was wire transferred by offshore corporations into more than 30 U.S. bank accounts opened by Ms. Douglas, primarily by Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Ltd., LetsGo Ltd. Inc., and Sima Holding Ltd.
The U.S. banks maintaining those accounts were, at times, unaware of her PEP status, and they allowed multiple, large offshore wire transfers into her accounts. As each bank began to question the offshore wire transfers, Ms. Douglas indicated that all of the funds came from her husband and professed little familiarity with the offshore corporations actually sending her money.
When one bank closed her account due to the offshore wire transfers, her lawyer helped convince other banks to provide a new account. In addition, two of the offshore corporations wire transferred about $14 million over five years to American University in Washington, D.C., to pay for consulting services related to the development of a Nigerian university founded by Mr. Abubakar.
American University accepted the wire transfers without asking about the identity of the offshore corporations or the source of their funds, because under current law, the University had no legal obligation to inquire.
Executive Summary
Combating corruption is a key U.S. value and goal, due to its corrosive effects on the rule of law, economic development, and democratic principles. In 2001, the Patriot Act made the acceptance of foreign corruption proceeds a U.S. money laundering offence for the first time, and required banks to apply enhanced scrutiny to private banking accounts opened for senior foreign political figures, their relatives, and close associates. In 2003, the United States supported the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, now ratified by over 140 countries. Also in 2003, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) formed an investigative group dedicated to combating foreign corruption by PEPs. In 2004, President Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 7750 denying U.S. visas to foreign officials involved with corruption, and Congress later enacted supporting legislation. A 2009 study sponsored by the World Bank analyzed PEP controls worldwide and recommended stronger measures to reduce corruption.
The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (Subcommittee) initiated this investigation to learn how U.S. laws apply to PEPs utilizing the domestic financial system, and examine how foreign senior political figures, their relatives, and close associates may be circumventing or undermining anti-money laundering (AML) and PEP controls to bring funds that may be the product of foreign corruption into the United States. It is the latest in a series of Subcommittee hearings examining foreign corruption and its U.S. aiders and abettors.
During the course of its investigation, the Subcommittee staff conducted over 100 interviews, including interviews of lawyers, real estate agents, escrow agents, lobbyists, bankers, university professionals, and government officials. The Subcommittee issued over 50 subpoenas and reviewed millions of pages of documents, including bank records, correspondence, contracts, emails, property records, flight records, news articles, and court pleadings. In addition, the Subcommittee consulted with foreign officials, international organisations, financial regulators, and experts in anti-money laundering and anti-corruption efforts.

Read the full report here: https://s18694.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/FOREIGNCORRUPTIONREPORTFINAL710.pdf

In addition, there was the case of Congressman William Jefferson who was jailed for accepting a bribe from a would-be Nigerian investor, Lori Mody, who was wearing a wire.
Jefferson told the investor that he would need to give then Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar $500,000 “as a motivating factor” to make sure the company obtained contracts for iGate and Mody’s company in Nigeria.
The case put Atiku in bad spotlight, with his mansion in Potomac, Maryland searched by the FBI in 2005. But there was nothing incriminating found in the house.
About 12 years after the raid, Atiku sold the property.

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Son of Igwe Obosi Eze AC Iweka 111 wins Multiple awards for best Anambra NDA graduate

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2nd Lt. Ugochukwu Nwama from Anambra State has written his name in gold as a result of his sterling performance at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA). He was adjudged the best graduating Cadet Adjutant of the 2018 Course.
The young officer, who is the son of Igwe Obosi Eze, A.C. Iweka 111, was presented with four different awards as rewards for his achievement at the just-concluded Passing out Parade in Kaduna State.
Nwama won the prestigious Golden Sword (the highest award to a cadet) ‘Sword of Honour’ (NDA’s highest accolade); the Indian Shield as well as the Best Graduating Student.
Nwama, who is indigenous to Obosi, Idemili North Local Government Area, was ordered to be promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant after out-performing his fellow cadets.
This rare feat came soon after a recent exceptional performance of five Anambra-born police constables at the Nigeria Police Training College, Nekede Imo State.
According to records from the institution, Nwama not only emerged the best in the Army but was the overall best in the entire military–the Army, Air Force and the Navy in the final year of his training at the academy.
Nwama majored in Electrical Electronics Engineering during the convocation, Presidential Commissioning and Passing out Parade of the 65 RC graduates.
His statue was unveiled to perpetuate the memory of his sheer brilliance, focus, hard work and exceptional life of discipline.
In a congratulatory message, the State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba described Nwama as a special breed of soldier with an emerging character of an “officer and gentleman’’.
He attributed the feat to the dogged and resilient spirit of an average Anambra citizen, made possible by the effort of the current administration.
Adinuba noted that the state had become the most competitive state in Nigeria, recording great achievements in almost every sphere in public and private sectors.
His words: “Indeed, Anambra State has consistently maintained enviable top position as the most peaceful state in Nigeria.
“The security architecture in Anambra firmly guarantees the safety and protection of lives, property and businesses of all who reside within its territories and even beyond.

“Anambra has equally maintained excellent position in all external examinations, including the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), National Examinations Council (NECO) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations, recording the least level of examination malpractices across the country.”
According to Adinuba, the generous funding of schools and adequate motivation of teachers have delivered excellent results and brought accolades to the state and deserving individuals.
“On March 19, last year, the world bore witness as Anambra Golden Girls outshone other students from not less than 100 countries to win the Technovation Challenge in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, USA.
“Other Anambra students had also won meritoriously in different international debates.
“Teachers from the state are also not left out as they have consistently led their colleagues in almost every Federal Government nation-wide assessment.
“In the health sector, Anambra State remains the trail blazer, breaking frontiers and setting the pace for others to follow.
“Perhaps, in recognition of resounding achievement in infant and maternal health care, the Federal Government, in June, last year, presented an award to Anambra State for winning the top prize in immunisation.
“The Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme has also been adjudged the most people-oriented health schemes in the country,” he added.

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Anambra Continues It’s Run Of Excellence Under Obiano

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By any measure, Anambra is an exceptional state. Given the number of renowned Nigerians that hail from the state as well as its well-known reputation as the industrial and business hub of the South East and Nigeria, Anambra is certainly outstanding in the comity of states.
In today’s world, the good news is that, under the current administration of Governor Willie Obiano, Anambra has not only retained its exceptional features as a state with some of the highest achieving avatars of business, politics, the arts, the sciences, etcetera; it has also grown its capacity to compete in myriad areas.
The evidence cannot be denied. An indigene of Obosi in Idemili North, Nwama, last month, won the overall best result among graduands of the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna State, carting home almost every available prize for academic and military excellence. The brilliant
performance is reminiscent of the feat achieved by Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu when, in the fifties, he became the first university graduate to join the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Though Ojukwu had already obtained a master’s degree in Modern history from the University of Oxford and his father was Nigeria’s first millionaire, he joined the army, not as a cadet, but as a non-commissioned officer. In other words, Ojukwu went into the army, not to amass wealth, but to render great service.
Ojukwu was, of course, from Anambra State. Obiano asserted recently, based on recent and emerging developments, that Anambra is becoming an even stronger competitive force in Nigeria. It is difficult to fault the governor, considering the impressive performance of Anambra State indigenes in the recently announced results from the training programme of police constables at Nigeria Police College, Nekede, Imo State. Constables from the state took home five out of six prizes awarded to the 192 constables. Obiano’s joy was palpable in his
reaction to the news.
The governor, who never misses any opportunity to celebrate and encourage accomplishments by Ndi Anambra, promised to reward the security officers whose efforts he described as “the brilliant performance of the fresh policemen and women” and “the latest show of excellence exhibited by our people in both international and national competitions”.
The stellar achievement by the rookie policemen was preceded by similar performances in education by various exceptional representatives of the state. For the third consecutive year, the
state recently won the first prize in the annual national President’s School Debate Competition for secondary schools. In the final part of the contest, Anambra roundly defeated Benue State by four points to one.

The state equally won the first prize in the 2018 performance assessment of schools conducted by the Federal Ministry of Education and relevant agencies under its supervision. It was the second time in two years that the state would be performing the feat.
It would be recalled that students of Regina Pacis International Model Secondary School, Onitsha had won, in the United States, the Golden Prize in the Global Technovation competition by developing an internet application for detecting a local and international scourge that has devastated individuals, families and communities: fake drugs.
The triumphant Anambra girls, who represented Nigeria in the contest, beat students from over 100 countries, including the US, to clinch the prestigious award. Obiano beat his chest and said: “We are the only state to achieve such remarkable consistency in educational performance.
We record the least number of malpractices in examinations conducted by such bodies as the West African Examinations Council (WAEC)”.
Anambra’s competitiveness goes beyond the educational sector. Many Nigerians may not know that Anambra State won the first prize in the 2018 National Immunization Campaign under the World Bank supervision.
Above all, the state is nationally acknowledged as more secure than any other. This, in large measure, is due to the strategic policies and initiatives of the Obiano government which are proactive in anticipating challenges and nipping them in the bud. A key priority is providing materials and other forms of support for the security agencies. Clearly, the security situation in the state has improved so much so that Anambra is considered, not just the safest state in Nigeria, but also the safest place in West and even Central Africa.


This article was written by  JOHN OBIEGBU

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Dogara Urges Buhari to Review National Security Architecture

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to review the security architecture to urgently end wanton killings in the country.
Dogara made the call on Thursday, in Abuja, while addressing members of the house during plenary.
He decried the continuous deterioration of the country’s security situation, especially in the North East, North West and some parts of the North Central.
“Only three days ago, scores of people were killed in Sokoto State and elsewhere; hardly any week passes without reports of mass killings and bloodletting, either by terrorists or armed bandits.
“This calls for drastic, urgent and concerted action and efforts to bring the situation to a quick end as citizens are looking up to us.
“And we cannot afford to fail them because security of lives and properties is the primary purpose of government.
“It is therefore imperative for the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces to take a hard look at our national security architecture with a view to fixing the malady, in order to secure lives, national pride and prestige,” Dogara said.
The speaker said that the fight against unbridled violence was one the country could not afford to lose as it was tantamount to loosing civilisation.
Ahead of the Feb. 16 and March 2, elections, Dogara urged lawmakers to strike a good balance between commitment to legislative duties and participation in the campaigns.
He urged all political leaders to cultivate the highest level of decorum, responsibility and respect for the laws of electioneering campaigns.
`We must, through our conduct, show our commitment to the successful and peaceful conduct of the elections; and above all, the sustenance of our democracy.
“We should avoid the tendency of being hypocritical by engaging in misdeeds that we are quick to point out in our opponents.
“Let us be guided by our conscience and the teachings of our religions, which demand that we judge ourselves before judging others,’’ the speaker said.
Dogara maintained that National Assembly was proud of its efforts to guarantee successful and rancour-free conduct of the elections by passing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill for the third time after the president declined assent twice.
He said that lack of passage of the amended bill meant that the impending elections would not benefit from the innovative mechanisms crafted in its collaboration with International and Development partners.
According to him, well-meaning Nigerians and the International community foresee the possibility of manipulating the coming elections because of the gaps in the current Electoral Act.
He said there were fears that the identified loopholes in the act might become a reality if proactive steps were not taken by critical stakeholders.
Dogara said the series of serious allegations by stakeholders, corroborated by some media reports, against INEC and the Nigerian Police in recent elections, which are already subjects of litigations, were some of the factors raising uncertainties on the success of the coming polls.
He said that the intention of lawmakers to improve on the successes of the 2015 General Elections through the Amendment Bill, was very clear to all fair-minded Nigerians.
“We had intended, through this Bill, to minimise the risk to the survival of our hard-won democracy through responsive and timely legislation aimed at ensuring free, fair and transparent elections.
“Nonetheless, as Parliament, we have done our best to guarantee the stability and growth of our fragile democracy and I have no doubt that history will be very kind to us.
“Under the present circumstance, we have no choice than to take INEC and the Police by their words and give them the benefit of doubt in their recent assurances to be impartial, efficient and truthful in the conduct of the coming elections.
“This is the minimum that the country deserves from them at this auspicious time, nothing short of complete openness, a level playing ground and strict adherence to extant laws will be acceptable to Nigerians,” Dogara said. (NAN)

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Atiku confirms arrival in US, embassy in the dark

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Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has confirmed his arrival in the United States.


In a post on Twitter, he said: “Just arrived Washington D.C for meeting with US government officials, Nigerians living in D.C metropolis and the business community. -AA”, with a photograph, showing him clutching a bouquet of flowers, along with Senate President Bukola Saraki and a lady.
The Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, DC, had said it was not sure if the former Vice-President would be visiting the United States any moment soon.

A competent source at the embassy told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the embassy was yet to get official information about the former vice president.
Atiku, who is the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was then being rumoured to have arrived the United States on Thursday night. Some other reports said he was on his way.
The embassy source, however, said the embassy was still awaiting official communication to that effect.
“Actually, we have not received any information for the embassy but we are just trying to find out whether really he is coming. That is what we are doing right now.
“They told us he’s coming tonight, today, so we are trying to find out whether he’s really coming.
“Mr (Peter) Obi, (Atiku’s running mate), he was to come last week but the event was cancelled.
“So we are still trying to see but if you get anything, please just let us know also because they said he’s coming here so that if you’re able to get any updated information, just inform us so that we can prepare vehicles to go to the airport and meet him and all that.
“For now, we have no information. If I am able to confirm anything, I will get back to you and please, if you too get any confirmation or any update, just get back to me, just call me.
“As a former Vice President, the Embassy is supposed to organise to receive him at the airport and all that, but then we have not received anything in that regards,” the source said.
NAN reports that Obi was billed to be in the U.S. last week and was scheduled to have a New jersey/New York Townhall but the event was postponed.

The PDP vice-presidential candidate is now rescheduled for the New/Jersey/New York USA Town Hall Meeting at Robert Treat Best Western Hotel, New Jersey on Monday, January 21.
The clarification from the embassy came as online reports said Atiku has either landed in the US or has taken off from Nigeria to address the US Chamber of Commerce on Friday, from 2:30pm to 4pm local time.
The Cable claimed that Atiku secretly flew out from Lagos on Wednesday night with most of his aides and associates taken unawares.
He was scheduled to be in Ogun state on Thursday morning but the event was cancelled, it said.
Atiku was said to have been issued last December with a US visa for the first time in 13 years. The visa was reportedly facilitated by his former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, a former foe, turned campaign endorser.
But reports said Atiku sensed the visa could be a trap by the Americans and thus asked for guarantee from the US government that he would not be arrested over a case of money laundering, for which there were reports of a sealed indictment by the US Justice Department.
In another case, former congressman William Jefferson was jailed for 13 years for accepting a bribe from an investor, Lori Mody, who was wearing a wire. Jefferson told the investor that he would need to give then Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar $500,000 “as a motivating factor” to make sure the company obtained contracts for iGate and Mody’s company in Nigeria.
But Daily Trust, quoting Atiku’s Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Paul Ibe debunked the report of Atiku travelling to the United States.
Ibe told Daily Trust via a telephone chat Thursday afternoon that online reports which stated that Atiku had travelled to the US were a figment of the imagination of the authors.
“You know what the social media can do. You know the social media for what they are now. It is not true. His Excellency hasn’t gone anywhere,” he said.

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Economic Council yet to decide on minimum wage

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The National Economic Council is yet to agree on the National Minimum Wage after meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
Although Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who briefed State House correspondent on the outcome of the meeting, said the issue came up at the meeting, he did indicate what the Council decided on the issue.
“The attitude of the governors and the committee was for evolving a National Minimum Wage legislation that can work,” was all Bagudu said when he was asked about the issue.
“On Wednesday, I was at a discussion but that is not for me to say because the Chairman of NEC has been mandated to talk about it,” he stated.
No outcome yet
Also, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige who spoke with correspondents after the meeting, said “there is no outcome as such, it’s a work in progress.”
Ngige said; “the information minister told you the other day after the Federal Executive Council that we are taking our deliberations to the National Economic Council and then we close up on the 22nd at the National Council of State after that, we will be able to say where we are going.”
He said; ”work was still ongoing on the figure, frequency of review, those that have exemption and everything about the bill before it would be ready for transmission to the National Assembly “in consonance with our agreement with labour that we will transmit the new bill on or before the 23rd of January.”
Asked if governors were insisting that they would not be able to pay N30,000.00, Ngige said “well it’s not a question that the governors are saying that they can’t pay N30,000; discussions are still ongoing and will terminate on 22nd of January, when we meet with the National council of state.
“Governors are part of Nigeria and they are part of the government side public sector.
“So don’t disengage them or disarticulate them from the Nigerian government, the public is the Nigerian government and the state government and even the local government,” Ngige stated.

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Osinbajo Says Buhari Unaware Of Onnoghen’s Arraignment Until Saturday

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, says President Muhammadu Buhari was not aware that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, was to be arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Fielding questions at an online publishers conference in Abuja on Wednesday, Professor Osinbajo attributed this to a directive by President Buhari to public officials not to interfere with the operations of institutions of government.
The theme of the conference is “Free Press and Objective Reporting in the 2019 Election Year”.

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President Buhari launches new Nigerian passport

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President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the new Nigerian international passport, which has 25 features that differentiates it from the old passport.

The new passport was launched on Tuesday at an emergency meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Buhari.

Minister of Interior Abdurahaman Dambazzau, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said the validity of the Nigerian passport has now been extended for 10 years for citizens who would want longer validity.

“We realized too that most Nigerians in the diaspora have been hammering on the issue of 10-year validity passport because we have had five-year validity passport.

“So, we considered that to make the passport 10-year validity. As long as it is not filled up, you can use your passport for 10 years before renewal.”

Dambazzau said the new the need to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organisation stipulations and security challenges necessitated the production of the new passport.

“You know things are dynamic in technology and ICAO also brought out additional features which we have to comply with as early as possible for security reasons.

“We have series of cross border issues to deal with and series of challenges in terms of border security and management.

“And one of the ways to do that, in addition to biometrics, we have introduced is to ensure that our passport contains all these security features at least to make it foolproof against identity theft and against any criminal to use it to sneak into the country or out of the country.

“This is the reason we came up with policy in the ministry and we looked at it as against the standard that is required and we came out with additional features.”

Local production

According to Dambazzau, the production of the new passport would be domesticated to tackle the challenges associated with producing it outside the country, which has been the case in the past.

“We thought that for couple of reason that it is an issue we must, as a matter of policy, find a way to sought it out.

“One for security reasons, it is important that we domesticate passport production.

“Two, it would also provide opportunity for employment of Nigerians because if you take it to is the country that will benefit, employment wise.

“The third reason is the possibility of introducing technology or technology transfer. So, we took a decision that we must do that.”

The minister said the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, NSPMC, already provides platform for the production of the new passport in Nigeria.

He said the colours of the passports would remain the same with the standard passport, which is issued to Nigerian citizens, as green, the official passport issued to Nigerians who work government as blue, while the diplomatic passport issued to ministers and presidents remain red.

Features
Also speaking, the Controller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mohammed Babandede, said that there are 25 differences between the old and the new passports.

“Some of them you don’t need to know, but those you need to know are very simple.

“The first, if you look at the passport, it easily fades; this has been improved.

“If you look at the other passport it was for laminating. We have improved the features.

“Also, sometimes when you go to the airport, they cannot read your passport when your are crossing the border.

“We have improved the chip to be more secured. There are other features which you don’t need.

Cost.

Babandede said the standard passport would have 32-page booklet for five years.

He said the cost of obtaining it would be N25,000, while it would be issued for $130abroad.

He said the 64-page booklet for five years would cost N35,000 in Nigeria and $150 dollars abroad.

The 64-page for 10 years, will cost N70,000 in Nigeria and $230 dollars abroad.

The Official passport will cost N15,000 but it cannot be issue abroad.

Also, the diplopmatic passport is not paid for since it is issued gratis.

It is not issued abroad.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was also at the briefing, agreed that the emergency meeting was called for the consideration of a new national minimum wage.

He however, said the minimum wage “is work in progress” and it would be discussed by the National Economic Council before it would be announced to the media.

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