8 May 2016

I am tired of Jenifa’s Diary — Funke Akindele

Top Nollywood actress cum producer, Funke Akindele, is far from happy at the moment as she says she is tired of writing, playing lead roles and also assisting director in her popular comedy TV

World leaders shun UK talks on corruption which Buhari is attending

President Buhari: will have company of few heads of state at London summit
Many world leaders are not attending next Thursday’s London summit on corruption to be hosted by British Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Apart from Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, other leaders attending are Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg.

University don to Fayose: Don’t poison Ekiti rivers to punish herdsmen

Gov. FayoseDr. Sikiru Eniola, an Associate Professor in Ekiti State University, has advised Governor Ayodele Fayose against having rivers of Ekiti State poisoned to check the menace caused by Fulani herdsmen.
According to the lecturer, the threat to poison Ekiti waters for Fulani herdsmen is not and cannot be the opinion of the good people of Ekiti State.

GBOGAN!!! Our hunt for Tee Billz and findings

*Tiwa and TeeBillzSince his Instagram rants last week, Tunji Balogun ‘Tee Billz’ has not been finding life easy. First he attempted suicide on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge but fortunately for him, Banky W and Peter

Clinton “abused women more than any man that we know of in history, says Trump

 This file photo combination shows Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton(L) on April 4, 2016 and Republican challenger Donald Trump on February 16, 2016. November's US presidential election is taking shape: Republican billionaire Donald Trump and Democratic power player Hillary Clinton look set for an ugly battle for the White House after a bruising primary season. Trump knocked out his only serious challenger Ted Cruz on May 3, 2016 in Indiana's key primary, winning 53 percent of the vote against 37 percent for the Texas senator, who raised the white flag and surprisingly pulled out of the race.  / AFP PHOTODonald Trump has launched a bitter broadside against Hillary Clinton depicting her as an “enabler” of Bill Clinton’s past infidelities — the latest nasty and deeply personal turn in the US presidential campaign. This file photo combination shows Democratic

Failed N100m ransome: Armed guards refused kingpin’s order to kill me – Senator Iyabo Anisulowo

Iyabo AnisulowoOgun State politician, Senator Iyabo Anisulowo, who spent seven days in kidnappers’ den after she was abducted in Ilaro area of the state, narrates her ordeal. Iyabo Anisulowo What was the experience like, being in captivity for seven days? It was a wonderful

My husband doesn’t mind me looking into his phone — Theo Oyebade tells their love story

The Oyebades
United Kingdom-based Nollywood couple, Theo and Ayo Oyebade, share their love story with Punchbelow:
How did you meet your wife?
Ayo: My wife will tell the story like I actually stalked her. But that’s not the case. We were in the same location on quite a few occasions. I bumped into her on the way to Theatre Royal Stratford during the 2012 Olympics. I was at the premiere of 

Legislative aides reject Dino Melaye’s brother as NASSLAF chairman

Aides of Senators and House of Representatives members under the aegis of National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum, said on Sunday that Samuel, the younger brother of Senator Dino Melaye, should not be imposed on them because they had already elected Mr. Darlington Udeh, as NASSLAF chairman.

Buhari orders military to crush new Niger Delta militant group

President Muhammadu Buhari has given a fresh order to the military to crack down on a new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, which has been attacking oil installations.

Fani-Kayode Hides Under Bed As EFCC Storms His House

It was drama galore on Friday afternoon at the residence of former Aviation Minister and spokesman of the Goodluck Jonathan campaign, Femi Fani-Kayode, in Abuja as operatives of the EFCC stormed his home in the city to officially invite him for questioning

Tiwa Savage, Go Back To Your Husband, It's The Right Thing – Pastor Felix Libarty

Felix Libarty, a singer turned Pastor has advised Tiwa Savage to make peace and go back to her husband as the Bible commands, stating that he knows her husband, TeeBillz is being attacked spiritually.

In a chat with Vanguard, the pastor said:

Diezani's Billions To Rig For Jonathan: EFCC Exposes All The Secret Deals (DETAILS)

The amount that embattled former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke is said to have looted for the failed re-election bid of Goodluck Jonathan is simply mind-blowing. See the details...
*14 directors of oil firms behind scandal identified
*Ex-Ministers battle for bail, colleague shocked

Sheriff will bury PDP at May 21 convention — Ex-ministers

Aggrieved former ministers, who served under the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government, have said that the forthcoming national convention of the party may turn out to be used as a burial day for the former ruling party.
 They said that unless the National Chairman of the party, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff retraced his steps from contesting at the convention, the coffin of the party would be nailed at the event.
The convention, which is slated for May 21 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is to be used to elect national officers of the party.
At the last meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee, the offices were shared among the six geo-political zones.
However, of all the offices, party members are miffed that the office of the national chairman was zoned to the North-East where Sheriff hails from.
Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, is the only formidable candidate for the position from the North-East.
Apart from the anger that the office was primarily zoned to Sheriff who is a new entrant to the party, majority of the members of the party are also complaining that the same North-East has produced the last two national chairmen of the party.
These former chairmen are Bamanga Tukur and a former Governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Mu’azu.
The former ministers said that Sheriff must drop his ambition or he would be the last national chairman to lead a united PDP.
Spokesperson for the ex-ministers, who is also a former Minister of National Planning, Dr.  Abubakar Sulaiman, said this while speaking with two journalists in Abuja on Saturday.
He argued that any attempt by Sheriff to consolidate his position at the convention would spell doom for the party, adding that most stakeholders would dump the PDP and “allow it to continue to swim in impunity.”
He said concerned PDP members and stakeholders would not keep quiet and allow Sheriff to hijack the party because of his ambition, adding that the right thing needed to be done for the party to regain power at the centre in 2019.
He said, “Ali Modu Sheriff is there to perform the final funeral rites of the PDP. The May 21 national convention will mark the lying in state of the PDP which will be forever. We will not stop talking until the right thing is done.
“With what he is doing now, I think he is on a mission. The national convention must not hold on May 21. If it must hold, it will be the day of celebration of funeral rites of the PDP.”
Sulaiman added that it was “the impunity” in the PDP that led to the party’s defeat at the 2015 general elections, and urged party members and leaders at all levels to end impunity and re-position the party for future victory.
He described as political fault, the zoning of both the chairmanship and 2019 presidential ticket of the party to the North, claiming that “it is the work of Ali Modu Sheriff and his cohorts.”
Meanwhile, the members of the Board of Trustees are meeting Abuja on Monday to deliberate on the crisis rocking the party.
Our correspondent gathered that the board would also review the plan by Sheriff to amend the party’s constitution and make it almost impossible for the BoT to meet without his approval.
The National Working Committee of the party led by Sheriff has inserted a clause under the yet-to-be approved amended constitution, that the chairman of the BoT must inform the national chairman of the PDP before calling for the board’s meeting.
The majority of the members of the board have decried this aspect among other ones, as undemocratic and an act aimed at reducing the powers and influence of the board.
Efforts made to get the reaction of the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, were not successful. Calls made to his mobile telephone indicated that it was switched off. He also did not respond to a text message sent to him.

Lagos police hunt for man over banker-wife’s death

The Lagos State Police Command has launched a manhunt for Mr. Lekan Shonde, who allegedly killed his banker-wife, Ronke, in Lagos on Thursday night.
Ronke Shonde, a mother of two, was found dead in their apartment located on Tiemo Close, Off Awori Street, in the Egbeda-Idimu area of Lagos State on Friday morning.
The husband was said to have fled with his wife’s mobile phones after the incident occurred.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos Command, Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the incident on Saturday, adding that the matter had been transferred to the Department of Criminal Investigation, Yaba.
She said “marks of violence” were found on Ronke, suggesting that she was murdered in cold blood.
The police spokesperson further said the command had launched a manhunt for the husband of the deceased.
Badmos said, “Yes, I confirm the incident. It was reported on Friday at about 8am by the landlady. She said at about 7am, she heard the screaming of Mrs. Ronke Shonde’s children, who is one of her tenants, as they couldn’t find the key to open their door from inside.
“When the door was forced open from outside, the lifeless body of the victim was found on the floor.
“Police operatives visited the scene and the corpse was removed and deposited at the Isolo General Hospital mortuary for autopsy.”
The police spokesperson explained that the deceased’s husband was at large and could not be reached on his telephone lines, which had been switched off.
“Effort is on to get him. The command will certainly get to the root of the case. The case has been transferred to the homicide section of the SDCI for discreet investigation,” she added.
Some residents of the street on which the couple lived, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH when one of our correspondents visited the area on Saturday, lamented that the deceased had been enduring an abusive marriage.
It was gathered that Ronke was the second of three siblings to die within two years.
A neighbour, who has a shop on the street, said Ronke died on Thursday night but the neighbours did not know until Friday morning.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the neighbour said, “It is a very unfortunate incident. The man had serially abused and assaulted his wife until the Thursday attack led to her death.
“He would tie her, beat her and take her mobile phones away. She should have left him long ago.”
The neighbour said the couple  lived comfortably, as the wife worked with Guaranty Trust Bank while her husband works at the Apapa depot of Mobil.
The neighbour also said,
“The husband is much older than the wife; the woman was in her 30s while man should be in his 50s.”
The neighbour further said, “Some people heard when she screamed on Thursday night but nobody knew what happened to her until her nanny raised the alarm on Friday morning.
“I was one of those who packed her remains. She had injuries on her head, neck and around her private parts. There were blood stains on the walls, which indicated that she must have struggled with him until he overpowered her.
“She was a light-skinned person but by the time we broke into their apartment, her body was already becoming dark and swollen. A doctor who conducted some tests on her said she must have been killed around 11pm on Thursday.”
According to the neighbour, Ronke’s mother had three children, while her younger brother died about a year ago. He lamented that her death might have been prevented if her brother’s wife, who had been living with them, was home on Thursday night.
When one of our correspondents sought to speak with the couple’s immediate neighbours on Saturday, their residence, which had two buildings one of which was said to be occupied by the landlady, was shut.
Another resident in the area, who also declined to be named in print, said the police had sealed up the couple’s flat, while other occupants of the building had shut the gate to visitors ever since.
“The flat was not just sealed. The police called a welder to weld the doors, which are made of iron to protect the crime scene,” the souce said.
The neighbour added that Ronke’s uncle came to take the children to their grandmother who is based in Kwara State.

Appoint Igbo man as IG, clergymen tell Buhari

With less than two months to the retirement of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, clergymen of Igbo extraction have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint one of their kinsmen as his successor.
They also called on Buhari to reach out in person to Fulani herdsmen in the country so as to end attacks against farmers and other innocent people.
The clergymen under the aegis of Rehemi Foundation and Association of United Igbo Gospel Ministers, at a press briefing held on Saturday in Abuja, stated that the President should appoint the next police boss from the East.
Spokesperson for the group and President of Rehemi Foundation, Air Vice Marshal Robert Konye Ekezie (retd.), said it was time for Buhari to “right the wrongs, as the tenure of the present indefatigable Inspector-General of Police comes to an end in June. It is about time the Igbo man enjoyed his inalienable right as a Nigerian, without the constant harassment and vilification from other tribes.”
Ekezie added, “It is not news that the Igbo is the favourite for attack by any group of mercenaries or disgruntled elements in Nigeria. The recent attack on Nimbo Community, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State by suspected Fulani herdsmen follows a pattern. It is a continuous war on Igbo’s man existence.
“The constant attack on the Igbos by mercenaries, religious fundamentalists, and other disgruntled groups must stop. An Igbo cannot go to another tribe to wage war against the natives. If he’s ever there, it is for commercial purpose.”
The clergymen therefore called on President Buhari to appeal to Fulani herdsmen to shun violent attacks against Igbo people.
“Our dear president, who is the number one father, should treat every Nigerian, irrespective of tribe and religion as his children, with the same responsibility to all,” Ekezie said.

Canvassing better deal for culture, tourism

Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Mattew Urhoghide (left); Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and Chairman, House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama at the summit
Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Mattew Urhoghide (left); Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and Chairman, House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama at the summit
The saying that invention is always driven by necessity captures the latest quest by the government to diversify the economy through culture and tourism.
And this quest got a refreshing dimension last week, in Abuja with the convocation of a three-day summit that attracted stakeholders of diverse background in the creative and tourism industry.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who declared the summit open, assured participants of creating required enabling environment for arts, culture and tourism to thrive and develop with emphasis on massive upgrading of infrastructure and the provision of security.
Represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, the President promised to encourage public and private sector participation and partnership in all the desired areas, including transportation, as well as, Beach and Resort development in a deliberate effort to develop tourism as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification of the economy.
“As a result of the combination of various factors such as the sharp drop in the price of oil, combined breakdown of protectionist policies and changes in social relations, countries are compelled to look for alternative sources of revenue and employment.
“Tourism therefore, is a resource of development and means of providing an additional opportunity for a non-industrialised country like ours, to diversify its economic base for the betterment of all,” he said.
While urging participants at the Summit to develop appropriate policies and the right attitudes towards achieving the desired goals, President Buhari underscored the role of culture and tourism in integrating communities and promoting peace and harmonious co-existence among the diverse cultures in Nigeria.
“Tourism brings individuals and human communities into contact and, through cultures and civilisation, has an important role to play in the diversification of any economy.  Tourism also has the capacity to assist the world inhabitants to live better together and thereby contribute to peaceful co-existence between peoples and cultures,” he said.
According to the President, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has a critical role to play in leveraging on the diverse cultures in Nigeria to inculcate the tenets of the nation’s cultural values of integrity, honesty, sincerity and God-consciousness in the citizens.
“It is therefore my hope that your deliberations will focus on the need to make use of culture and tourism as instruments of social mobilisation for national revival. I charge the Ministry of Information, Culture and National Orientation to effectively liaise with other relevant Ministries and Agencies to work out appropriate programmes including actions and measures that would help in fighting the scourge of these social vices brought about by the collapse of our value systems,” he said.
In his address, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said his ministry in the last six months had taken a bold step to convert the nation’s huge cultural and tourism potentials into vast opportunities for revenue generation and job creation.
He expressed happiness over the collaboration the ministry has brokered with the British Council and the Tony Elumelu Foundation “to achieve our objective, in practical terms, move away from paying lip service to these Sectors in order to harness their potentials,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed also disclosed that the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has agreed to work with Nigeria to develop a two-year plan to help boost tourism in the country, which he described as a major breakthrough, considering that Nigeria has not even appeared on the radar of the global agency for several years now.
He said the culture and tourism sectors are not just about creating jobs or earning revenues, they also help to stem rural-urban migration, foster unity, ensure holistic and inclusive growth as well as reduce crime.
The Minister said in its effort to reposition the entertainment industry, his ministry has set up the ministerial committee on the Motion Picture Council of Nigeria (MOPICON) with a view to fast-tracking the process of passing the MOPICON Bill into law in order to give the movie industry better wings to fly higher.
He called for a holistic approach by all stakeholders to surmount the challenges impeding the development of tourism in the country in order to create a conducive environment to attract tourists into the country.
“Developing the tourism sector requires the collaboration of other stakeholders, notably the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior and those responsible for infrastructure, the security agencies, the tour operators, etc. We also need to push for a friendly visa regime, like designating certain countries whose citizens can obtain visa on arrival. This will boost tourist arrivals tremendously.
“The challenge before us, ladies and gentlemen, is to work out long term strategies to develop our Culture and Tourism Sectors and move them into the mainstream of the economy, while not failing to design ways and means of plucking some low-hanging ‘fruits’ along the way,” he said.
In addition to provocative remarks in form of a presentation entitled The Killing Culture of the Neo-Nomadic by Prof. Wole Soyinka, read on his behalf by Dr. Wale Adeniran of Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU), Osogbo, Osun State, there were four paper presentations interrogating the theme of the summit, Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy. The galaxy of experts from the academia and the field engaged the various papers deeply while exploring various possibilities in order to actualize the overall goal of the summit.
At the end of deliberations, the following recommendations were considered and adopted:
The Culture and Tourism sector is a big industry; it cuts across many sectors, namely, agriculture, business, transportation, health, sports, aviation, Women, Youth, Information, Technology, Architecture, etc. It is arguably the biggest. Nigeria cannot afford to fold her hands while other Nations are reaping the immense socio-economic benefits derivable from this global vibrant sector.
Consistency and continuity in government policies at all levels are non-negotiable to develop tourism. To this end, Nigeria should muster the political will to accord culture and tourism preferred status to effectively develop it.
Participants during the summit                                                                                                                                                                                                PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo
Participants during the summit                                                                                                                                                                                                PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo Participants during the summit PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo
The Summit observed that to create a positive image for our national buildings, private cooperate offices and edifices, there is a compulsory need to adorn them with Nigerian artworks in order to empower arts creators; and that measures be put in place to protect the nation’s cultural sites during times of conflict by engendering communal ownership of such sites.
The Summit also noted the need for Nigerian Cultural Icons, both living and dead, to be celebrated so as to inspire the younger generations to strive hard for excellence.
That action on the reviewed Cultural Policy for Nigeria and the Endowment Fund for the Arts has been unnecessarily delayed.
That Data Collection, Research and Documentation by Culture Practitioners are key for effective planning to attract private sector patronage for the Culture Sector.
That the Culture of African Time, which has pervaded collective psyche be done away with and replaced with a conscious time management attitude to promote national development.
The current name of the Ministry does not properly portray Nigeria as a country where culture and tourism is at the front burner of development.
Job creation, rural-urban integration, peace and unity are critical for national development. A viable Culture and Tourism industry is sine-qua-non to the realization of these lofty objectives. Thus, the Summit noted the need for all stakeholders in the industry should work together to project the culture and tourism sector positively.
The Summit noted the immense contribution of the oil sector to the national economy but warned that Nigeria’s dependence on oil without exploring other economic opportunities had triggered grave consequences such as, loss of biodiversity, climate change, dwindling foreign exchange earnings, etc. Accordingly, the challenge is to build a resilient economy, which would exploit the abundant culture and tourism potentials in the country.
The Summit observed that the development of sustainable culture and tourism is complex, intricate and varied. Consequently, participants noted the need to put in place workable Public Private Partnership (PPP) strategies. Government needs to create the enabling environment, e.g., critical infrastructure and appropriate legislation for private sector participation. Moreover, the incentives listed in the National Tourism Policy and the reviewed Cultural Policy for Nigeria should be implemented to serve as impetus to the sector.
In view of difficulties encountered by prospective tourists, businessmen, conference participants, pilgrims, travellers in acquiring Nigerian visa, the Summit called for more friendly visa regime.
In recognition of the strategic role of security to sustainable tourism development, effort must be re-doubled to provide the much needed confidence for tourists and travellers visiting Nigeria.
As the driver of culture and tourism the world over, the private sector should leverage on the government’s incentives and take full advantage to accelerate development in the sector. To do this, the private sector should be more involved in policy advocacy, campaign and sensitization programmes, even at international fora.
Participants observed that the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) and the National Endowment Fund for the Arts are long overdue. Action must therefore be taken to establish and make them functional for effective development of the sector.
For maximum efficiency, all relevant agencies in the sector must be aligned. In this regard, the Summit called for the transfer of the Nigerian Copyright Commission from the Federal Ministry of Justice to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
As it is the practice in some notable tourism destinations in the world, man-made culture and tourism assets, such as amusement parks and other creative wonders should be encouraged within the cities so that tourists can enjoy existing superstructures, such as, hotels and allied tourism related facilities in the cities.
The Summit noted the need for Nigeria’s core values to be reintroduced into the school curriculum. In this regard, the teaching of history and the inclusion of relevant cultural components in the curricula of education in Nigeria at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels must be enforced. In addition, the teaching of Nigerian indigenous languages should be given priority.
The Summit recognised the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria. It however noted that over the years the country seems to have lost the tenets of cultural values, integrity, sincerity and moral uprightness. In order to address the situation, it called for cultural rebirth that will reposition Nigeria as a domain of moral sanctity and light not only for the African continent but for the global community.
The Summit noted the undue emphasis on some so-called professional courses such as medicine, engineering, law etc; at the detriment of the natural endowment of children. This situation does not augur well for creative arts, culture and tourism knowing well that creativity rules the world today. Governments and parents should emphasize the importance of creativity which is the bedrock for ingenuity and success for sustainable development.

‘States’ financial mess is ticking time bomb’

L-R: Zamfara State Governor and Chairman of NGF, Mallam Abdulaziz Yari and Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State
L-R: Zamfara State Governor and Chairman of NGF, Mallam Abdulaziz Yari and Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State
• Bailout is reward for govs’ recklessness
• Buhari jets to London for anti-corruption summit
• Osinbajo unveils 2016 agenda for youths, tech sector

The Federal Government’s recent N222bn bailout to states and loan restructuring may have worsened Nigeria’s chances of economic recovery in the nearest future, experts say.
Hit by the harsh fallout of low global oil prices, the Nigerian economy has been on a free fall, a situation worsened by government’s hard-line foreign exchange policy.
At the height of economic turmoil last year, states approached the newly inaugurated Muhammadu Buhari administration for bailouts, mainly to pay salary arrears.
But despite criticism that the states were not financially prudent and may not follow through with the intent of the bailout, the Federal Government approved the requested sum for 19 states across the country.
Also, three weeks ago, the Federal Government restructured loan repayment plans for debtor states, exempting them from remitting deductions for the month of March, in what is viewed as another sort of bailout for the states, which have been stretched to their limits in meeting financial obligations.
With the recent restructuring of loans and calls for more bailout, however, experts have said the trend portends ominous signs for the economy, arguing that the decision of the Federal Government to bend backwards casts the country in bad light in local and international lending community.
Moody’s, the creditworthiness rating service, had announced the downgrading of Nigeria’s long-term issuer ratings from Ba3 to B1 last Friday. B1, B2 and B3 ratings are judged to “have speculative elements and a significant credit risk”, while Ba1, Ba2 and Ba3 are seen as “speculative and a high credit risk.”
The downgrade, the service said, is based on Nigeria’s increased external vulnerability “brought about by the prospect of lower-for-longer oil prices.”
Two dons at the Lagos Business School, Prof. Leo Ukpong and Dr. Adi Bongo, believe the country would suffer worse fate and risks ‘more downgrades’ with its decisions on the bailout.
The suspension of state loan repayment by the Federal Government (lender), according to Prof. Ukpong, signals financial distress on the part of the states (borrowers).
He argued that financial distress implies inability of the borrower to make interest and principal payments on outstanding loan; hence if the economic and financial situation faced by the (borrowing) states does not improve fast, the Federal Government could be forced to ‘write-off the debts.’
“Unfortunately, the current economic condition seems to suggest that the recovery will take a long time (unless the crude oil prices significantly rise above the current rate),” he said.
He explained that writing off defaulting states’ debt would increase Federal Government’s debt portfolio, which in turn, would make the government a risky borrower in the (international and domestic) money and capital markets.
Noting that the trend would directly imply an increase in the interest charged by lenders, when they grant new loans to the Federal Government, he said it is likely that the government’s credit rating will be downgraded.
“On the states’ part, defaulting on their loans will also result in the high interest rates on new loans and a downgrade of the credit ratings. In essence, the nation as a whole will find it difficult and expensive to borrow new funds for capital projects and/or other needs,” he stressed.
He added that consequent credit crunch would also exert pressure on Naira, leading to a likely devaluation of the currency, drop in investment, consumption and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said Nigeria could only get out of the morass with proper economic planning and strategies, as it is very likely to recover from these “negative effects” in the medium and long run (five to 10 years), adding, “But within the short run, our only saviour is an up-turn in crude oil price combined with strict fiscal discipline.”
Agreeing with him, Bongo, who noted that Federal Government’s gesture sends mixed signals, said: “I suppose Federal Government is keen on alleviating the current economic hardship in the country. This gesture is certainly a reprieve to states that have come under severe budgetary constraints since the federal allocation dwindled.”
He continued: “What isn’t certain is whether this amounts to a default on the part of the Federal Government vis-a-vis the creditors, whether domestic or international. Unless there had been some negotiations on restructuring or rescheduling of these debts prior to this pronouncement, I guess it might send the wrong signals to the lending community and thus, worsen the country’s already shattering credibility.”
Noting that with government’s plans to raise about N2.2trn in new debt to fund the 2016 budget, he said the policy direction doesn’t seem to offer potential creditors any confidence in the country’s sovereign guarantee, as it will certainly diminish government’s ability to raise new monies in both the domestic and international market.
Yesterday, the Federal Government said it has mapped out plans to provide critical support to youths and create opportunities to revitalise the creative and innovative technologies sector of the economy.
Specifically, government will develop super technology hubs in Lagos and Abuja and six others in the geo-political zones, to help build solutions for government and social services, especially in health care, education and agriculture.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this in a keynote address at the Green With Creativity Conference convened by Unboxed 2.0 in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Osinbajo said though Nigeria’s creative industry has developed almost without government, the innovative technologies sector offers even more growth potentials with its ability to get work done faster and easier, as well as, impact other sectors of the economy.
He said: “Government intends to establish two super hubs for technology innovation in Lagos and Abuja. This is in addition to six others in the geo-political zones. We already have some partnerships with technology companies that are willing to resource these hubs and put in place some capacity building tools. Each hub would be designed to develop relevant, innovative technologies to a wide range of business, social and government problems.”
On plan to engage unemployed graduates, he said: “We would be training 500,000 graduates that would be teachers and extension service workers. But the interesting thing about this is that we are going to ensure that they are trained in relevant technologies. Each of them would have a device that would have sufficient software for technology training. We are working, at the moment, with five to six technology companies that are helping to develop that device.”
Meanwhile, in pursuance of his fight against corruption, President Buhari will travel to London Tuesday for the international Anti Corruption Summit, which will commence Thursday.
A statement, yesterday, by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, said Buhari would play a “prominent part” in the summit, which will be hosted by British Prime Minister, David Cameron, with many other Heads of State and Government in attendance.
According to the statement, “President Buhari will, ahead of the summit’s opening, deliver a keynote address titled: “Why We Must Tackle Corruption Together”, at a pre-summit conference of development partners, the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, Transparency International and other civil society groups on Wednesday. The President will also reaffirm his administration’s unwavering commitment to the fight against corruption and the Federal Government’s readiness to partner with international agencies and other countries to identify, apprehend and punish corrupt public officials.”
Buhari’s delegation will include, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, and the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.