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16-Jul-2024 NIMC, Online Publishers Roundtable: Implications and future directions

NIMC, Online Publishers Roundtable: Implications and future directions

By Walter Duru
 
The Digital Age has reshaped how we consume and disseminate Information, with Online Media playing a crucial role in shaping Public Perception and Opinion.

Recognising this, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), with support from the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) Project, recently organised a Two-Day Roundtable with Online Newspaper Publishers in Nigeria.

The Roundtable, held in two Batches, at Lagos and Abuja, respectively, provided Participants the opportunity to understand and appreciate the Activities, Strategy, Approach, Achievements, and Challenges of NIMC. It was the first of its kind, since the establishment of the Commission.

This Collaborative Initiative underscores the importance of Dialogue between Regulatory Bodies and Media Stakeholders in shaping the future of Identity Management in the Country. It marks a significant step toward enhancing Communication, Collaboration, and Mutual understanding between NIMC and Digital Media Stakeholders.

The Roundtable, Themed "Building Trust and Collaboration in the Digital Age: Enhancing Communication Between NIMC and Online Publishers," aimed to bridge the gap between NIMC and the Digital Media.

It provided an opportunity for NIMC to articulate its Mandate, Vision, Activities, and Achievements directly to the Publishers while addressing some misconceptions surrounding its Operations. The Roundtable laid the Foundation for future Interactions and Collaborative efforts.

The Event was also designed to foster a Partnership that leverages the strengths of Online Media to support NIMC's Mission and to ensure accurate dissemination of Information.

In her Opening Remarks at the event, NIMC Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Abisoye Coker-Odusote emphasised the importance of building strong Relationships with the Media to combat misinformation and to enhance the visibility of NIMC’s efforts.

“As we gather here today, we are united by a common goal: to build formidable bridges between the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the Influential Voices of the Online Media Landscape.”

“In the Digital Age, the influence of Online Media cannot be overstated. The Internet has become a Primary Source of information for many, particularly the Youth. However, it is also a breeding ground for misinformation and rumours, which can severely impact the reputation and trust in Organisations.”

“Our focus today is to address the Dual Role of Online Publishers - as Key Partners in disseminating accurate Information and as potential Sources of misconceptions. We recognise that while you have the Power to amplify our successes, there is also the potential for misunderstandings that can spread rapidly.”

“This Roundtable aims to forge a Partnership that leverages your strengths to support our Mission while ensuring that misconceptions are promptly and accurately addressed.”

“Pursuant to our commitment to transparency and accountability, we have instituted robust Mechanisms for participation, grievance redress, and regular monitoring to enhance Operational Performance and mitigate Social Risks.”

“Let me also use this medium to remind you all that Enrolment for the National Identification Number (NIN) is free of charge in Nigeria.”

“Taking advantage of this Meeting, we hope to provide you with comprehensive insights into NIMC’s Activities, Objectives, Strategies, Achievements, and Challenges. This knowledge is vital for you to disseminate accurate Information to the Public.”

“It is also expected that we discuss your Roles in the forthcoming NIMC Ecosystem Enrolment exercise, ensuring you understand how you can contribute to this National effort.”

“Let me use this medium to, once again, reassure Nigerians, at home, and in the diaspora that robust Measures are in place to safeguard the Nation's Database from Cyber Threats. Under my Leadership, NIMC has an unwavering commitment to upholding Ethical Standards in Data Protection. Cutting-Edge Cybersecurity Technologies are in place to protect the Database.”

Earlier in her Remarks, Coordinator, Project Implementation Unit, Nigeria Digital ID4D Project, Tito Ejenavi, highlighted the Project's Development Objective - to increase the number of Persons with a National Identity Number (NIN) through a robust and inclusive Foundational Identity System.

"By strengthening our National Identity Infrastructure, we aim to bolster Nigeria’s Digital Economy, enhance Data protection, and close the Inclusion Gaps that hinder access to Identification and related Key Services," she explained.

Also, in his Remarks, Deputy President, Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) and Publisher of NewsdiaryOnline, Danlami Nmodu, pledged the continued support and collaboration of Online Publishers to the Commission.

The Roundtable featured a series of Presentations, Interactive Sessions, and Case Studies, aimed at educating Participants about NIMC’s Operations, Strategy, Achievements, and Plans.

Notable Presentations include "NIMC: Mandate, Approach, Operations and Strategy" by Festus Esangbedo and "Understanding Abisoye Coker-Odusote’s 5-Point Agenda for NIMC" by  Alvan Ikoku.

Others are: “Front End Partners in NIN Enrolment: Essence, Approach, Benefits and Challenges”, by Carolyne Folami; “Nigeria Digital ID4D Project and the Ecosystem Enrolment”, by Chinenye Chizea’; “Improvements to NIMC Infrastructure: Implications to Data Integrity, Privacy and Security”, by Chinenye Chizea, and “Online Publishers and Realisation of the NIMC Mandate”, By Walter Duru.

These Sessions provided comprehensive insights into the Commission’s efforts to maintain a secure, robust and inclusive National Identity System.
For Online Publishers, the Roundtable underscored the importance of their Role in the National Identity Management Ecosystem. As Digital Gatekeepers, they have the Power to shape Narratives and influence Public Perceptions.

The Collaboration with NIMC presents an opportunity to enhance their Reporting with accurate and comprehensive Information directly from the Source.
The NIMC's Engagement with Online Publishers is a strategic move to enhance transparency and build Public Trust in the National Identity Number (NIN) System.

By involving the Media, NIMC can ensure accurate and timely dissemination of Information, addressing Public concerns and misinformation about the Digital Identity Process.

The Roundtable provided an opportunity for NIMC to clarify its Objectives, challenges, and progress. Online Publishers, armed with this knowledge, can produce more informed and insightful Content, fostering a more supportive and Educated Public Opinion. This improved understanding can lead to more nuanced Reporting, highlighting the benefits and addressing the drawbacks of the NIN System.

As the Media amplify the discussions from the Roundtable, the General Populace stands to benefit from increased awareness about the importance of Digital Identity. This awareness is crucial for driving the widespread adoption of the NIN, which is essential for the success of various Government Initiatives aimed at improving Service Delivery and Socio-Economic Development.

Feedback from Online Publishers provided NIMC with valuable insights into Public sentiment and practical challenges faced by Citizens. This collaborative feedback loop can inform Policy adjustments and Operational improvements, ensuring that the NIN System evolves to meet the needs and expectations of Nigerians effectively.

The outcomes of the Roundtable were promising, with enhanced understanding of NIMC's Mandate and Activities, strengthened Relationships, and the establishment of effective Communication bridges between NIMC and Online Publishers.

To sustain this momentum, several next steps were identified, such as establishing regular Communication Channels between NIMC and Online Publishers to ensure continuous Engagement and prompt resolution of Issues, periodic Meetings, among others.

The time has therefore come for NIMC to create a Structured Framework for ongoing Collaboration with Online Media. This can lead to sustained Media support and effective dissemination of Information about NIMC’s Initiatives.

A comprehensive Public Education Campaign, supported by the Media, is essential for demystifying the NIN Process and highlighting its benefits.
NIMC, in collaboration with Online Publishers, can develop and disseminate Educational Content that addresses common misconceptions and encourages participation in the Digital Identity System.

Organising Training Sessions for Online Publishers and other Media Stakeholders on NIMC’s Systems and Processes will enhance their Understanding and Reporting Accuracy.

By working together, NIMC and Online Publishers can enhance the visibility, trust, and goodwill of the Commission, ensuring that accurate and effective Information reaches the Public.

No doubt, NIMC's Roundtable with Online Publishers represents a forward-thinking approach to Governance and Stakeholder Engagement. It highlights the importance of Collaboration between National Institutions and Digital Media in fostering a Well-Informed and Inclusive Society.

This Initiative is not only timely but also critical, given the increasing reliance on Digital Platforms for Information dissemination. It sets the stage for improved Public Awareness and Education on the importance of Digital Identity.

This Partnership is not just beneficial to NIMC but also aligns with the Social Responsibility Obligation of Online Publishers to inform and educate the Public accurately.

As we move forward, sustained Engagement, Technological Innovation, and comprehensive Public Education will be key to unlocking the full potentials of the NIN and ensuring that it serves as a cornerstone for Nigeria’s Digital future.

With the Foundation laid for a Productive Relationship, the future looks promising for NIMC and the Online Media Community.
All hands must be on deck!
 

Dr. Chike Walter Duru, an Associate Professor of Mass Communication, is a Communication Expert and Public Relations Strategist.

 

25-Jun-2024 Babajide Sanwo-Olu: 59th Edition of God’s gift to Humanity

Babajide Sanwo-Olu: 59th Edition of God’s gift to Humanity

By Gboyega Akosile

There is no gain saying that God in His infinite wisdom does not make mistakes - I know that most of the widely accepted Religions, in the World, Islam and Christianity, hold strongly to this Belief. He does as He pleases Himself in the Affairs of Man, with absolute precision.

This can be said of those that God has chosen and used to run the Affairs of Men in the World. From the days of Prophets, Kings, Queens and Rulers up to the present day Leaders, we believe that there is a Hand of God in their individual emergence as Controllers of Men’s Affairs.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the 15th Governor of Lagos State is a good example of “Godsend” and a perfect description of God-does-not-mistakes.

Calm, humane, urbane, visionary and exemplary in many respects, Governor Sanwo-Olu personifies character, giving credence to what we describe as Omoluabi in Yorubaland.

I remember one of his Election Slogans, “When Lagos speaks, Sanwo-Olu listens”, which attracted some criticism from Naysayers who believed at the time that no Leader would fulfill such a promise. They dismissed it, concluding that it was a mere Political Talk.

Five years after, I see a Man who does not only listen to the yearnings of his People but takes immediate action to address their concerns. Yes, Sanwo-Olu listens!

In a space of five years, Governor Sanwo-Olu has touched many lives in a million ways than one could have imagined.

In fact, his THEMES+ Development Agenda was carefully and deliberately designed to help the course of Humanity. And he has painstakingly worked on each of the Pillars in ways that they directly impact the Lives of Lagosians.

It is common for Politicians to go to the Market with Bricks and Mortar- after all that is what the People can see and physically feel.

He has done more than enough of the Physical Infrastructure and millions of Lagos Residents can attest to such Projects as Roads, Hospitals, Schools, Museums etc that Governor Sanwo-Olu has constructed to make life abundantly easy for Lagosians.

Other Areas of his magic touch, which perhaps are more major in my estimation are those that are not necessarily Bricks and Mortar in nature but those that help to build the minds of our People. 

In education, Governor Sanwo-Olu revamped the Educational System in Lagos, and today, Lagos ranks among the top five in the West African Examinations Council’s Performance Index. He has created additional two State-owned Universities and he is already proposing a university of Medical Sciences. That to me is a bigger achievement.

The Health Sector has received so much attention that Lagos has been adjudged one of the best 10 Cities in Health Delivery across Africa. Work is still ongoing in Physical Infrastructure in the Health Sector. 

There are several other Areas like the Environment, Technology and Tourism, which have stood the Governor out as a Thinker and Doer. I consider most of these as the real deal because they provide the basis for the future of Lagos and her Residents.

Lagos State has grown increasingly in Global Livability Index, using some of the above factors as Parameters. The huge impact of the Country’s Economy has challenged most of the Leaders. In Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu has risen up to the challenge and has provided Leadership. 

As a Leader, he recognises the importance of Food Security in the State. He initiated the widely acclaimed Subsidised Food Market and the Ounje Eko Food Palliatives to cushion the effects of the Economic Downturn for the Vulnerable People in the State.

There are many sides to Governor Sanwo-Olu, that I have been privileged to witness firsthand. His genuine love for the Masses, his uncommon generosity, humility and simplicity are worthy of emulation. Perhaps these personal qualities are what endear him to the People he currently serves.

Today is his 59th Birthday and in celebrating, the Governor would be laying a Foundation for what would give birth to Sustainable Water Supply at the Lagos State International Water Conference as well as open Talks for Safety at the Lagos International Fire Safety Conference.

One would wonder why he would approve those very important Assignments on his Birthday, when others like him would prefer to stay at Home to receive Guests and probably party. It is because Governor Sanwo-Olu understands the enormity of the Tasks of Governance and the expectations of the People whose needs he must attend to at every hour of the day.

I want to wish my Boss, Mentor and Benefactor a Special Birthday full of happiness, peace and great health.

May God continue to direct every single of your steps as you work very hard to leave Lagos State better than you met it.

Congratulations, Sir.

Gboyega Akosile is the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Media and Publicity

18-Jun-2024 Why FBI Director Gray’s visit to Nigeria matters

Why FBI Director Gray’s visit to Nigeria matters

By Kayode Adebiyi

Contrary to the Narrative of John Grisham’s Fictional Thriller, The Racketeer, this was a real-life, long-overdue gesture of genuine Friendship and Partnership, a testament to the shared interest in combating Trans-Border Crimes that pose a significant Global threat.

The Visit of one of the longest-serving Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Directors, Christopher Wray, to Nigeria last week signalled a new Era in cooperation between Nigeria and the United States.

With the increase in the growth and sophistication of Trans-Border Crimes and Criminal Networks in such Crimes as Cybercrimes, Online Fraud, Trafficking in Illicit Drugs and Money Laundering and Illicit Transactions, Government Agencies across the World are working closer for solutions.

Wray’s Historic Visit to Nigeria, marked by his Courtesy Calls on President Bola Tinubu and the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, was a significant milestone. This was not only his first visit to Africa in his seven years as FBI Director but also a testament to the growing importance of Nigeria in the Global fight against Trans-Border Crimes.

Equally significant was Wray’s Inaugural Visit to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), where he held a crucial Meeting with the Chairman, Ola Olukoyede.

This Meeting, the first of its kind, underscored the importance of International Cooperation in combating Trans-Border Crimes and the confidence in the EFCC’s renewed Anti-Corruption efforts under Olukoyede’s Leadership.

There are perhaps a dozen Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa, notable among them the EFCC, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Hawks; the Kenyan Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC); the Ghanian Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO); and the Sierra Leonean Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), among others. Wray, however, visited only two – the EFCC and the EACC.

Wray’s Visit also aims to strengthen the Partnership between the FBI and the EFCC. In his remark during the Visit, Wray said: “We have had a Relationship over the years, and this is a reflection of how stronger than ever we are looking forward to taking our Partnership to higher and higher levels in tackling threats that affect the People of Nigeria and the People of the United States.”

In response, Olukoyede said in the fight against the “Bad Guys” and Trans-Border Crimes, the Commission was “willing to continue and develop Ideas that would be of mutual benefit to both Agencies and ensure that the Issue of Cybercrime will take utmost priority in our scale of preference and also ensure that Sextortion that has become a major challenge to us is taken very seriously.”

Wray’s Visit takes on a special meaning in the context of Statistics showing that apart from rising Cybercrimes, Illicit Drugs and Small Arms, Illicit Financial Flows also cost Africa around $88.6bn yearly.

Security Analysts hope a deeper Collaboration between the FBI and the EFCC will improve Capacity Building and Intelligence Sharing.

This genuine Collaborate among the two Agencies will mean that the Malcolm Bannisters of this World, the Fictional Character in Grisham’s Book, will have a hard time in the future.

 

Credit NAN/Kayode

12-Jun-2024 Full Text of President Bola Tinubu’s National Broadcast on Democracy Day 2024

Full Text of President Bola Tinubu’s National Broadcast on Democracy Day 2024

My fellow Nigerians, let me begin by congratulating all of us for witnessing the Celebration of another Democracy Day today, the 12th day of June 2024. This year also marks our Nation’s 25 years of uninterrupted Democratic Governance. 

2.     On this day, 31 years ago, we entered our Rites of Passage to becoming a true and enduring Democratic Society.

3.     Going through this passage was hard and dangerous. During the fateful six years that followed, we fought and struggled for our Natural Rights as Human Beings put on this Earth by the divine hand of our Creator. 

4.     We lost great Heroes and Heroines along the way. In this struggle, the Winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, Chief MKO Abiola, the most significant Symbol of our Democratic Struggle, his Wife, Kudirat, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Pa Alfred Rewane, among others sacrificed their very Lives. 

 5.     They bravely surrendered their futures, so that our Nation might have a better one. 

 6.     Let us honour the Memories of Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Frank Kokori, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Ganiyu Dawodu, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chima Ubani, and others who have transited to the higher realm. 

7.     The Sacrifices of General Alani Akinrinade, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Ralph Obioha, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, among many others, should never be forgotten. For at least six years, they bore the pains and difficulties of Life in Exile.  

8.     While the Exiled Pro-Democracy Activists kept the fire burning, their Comrades at Home sustained the pressure on the Military Brass Hats. Among the latter are Olisa Agbakoba, Femi Falana, Abdul Oroh, Senator Shehu Sani, Governor Uba Sani, Chief Olu Falae, and other National Democratic Coalition Leaders such as Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Ayo Opadokun. 

 9.     The Sacrifices they made, and the precious gift brought about by their selfless devotion can never be repaid. Neither shall it be forgotten.

 10. We could not have won the battle against Military Dictatorship without the irrepressible Nigerian Journalists who mounted the barricades along with the Pro-Democracy Activists. We celebrate them today, along with their Media Establishments such as The Punch, Guardian, National Concord, Tribune, The News/Tempo, and TELL Magazines. Military authorities proscribed these Media Establishments and jailed their Journalists for standing for Free Speech and Civil Liberties. 

11. Despite the lethal might of the Military Government, what appeared to be high and unyielding Walls of Dictatorship came tumbling down. The dismal fortress exists no longer. 

12.The Power of an Idea, the Power of the People proved more potent than all the Guns and Munitions, and the threats of the Strongmen.  

13. The Nation exited the yoke of Military Rule in 1999 to become the most Populous Democracy on African Soil, the Beacon of Democratic self-determination for the Black Race and one of the largest Democracies in the World.

14. This change stands as a pivotal moment in Human History. From this change, we shall never turn, nor shall the Annals of Mankind’s progress forget the sublime meaning of this great moment. 

15. Today, 25 years later, we celebrate the Silver Anniversary of our Journey in Democracy.   

16. We have steadied the course. 

 17. Democracy is neither a foreign nor abstract concept devoid of real-life meaning for us. Neither can we afford to reduce or minimise it to being nothing but the mere holding of Periodic Elections where one Candidate and Party outdo another. 

18. While Elections attract dramatic attention, they are but one aspect of Democracy. Democracy is a way of life that encompasses a broad outlook of which Elections are but a part. As such, a Nation can have Elections without being Democratic. But a Nation cannot be truly Democratic without holding Elections.   

19.That we have established a Tradition of holding transparent, open, and fair Elections gives credence to our Democratic bearing. That we have experienced peaceful Transitions of Government affirms our Democratic Temperament. 

20. Fellow Nigerians, true Democracy shines its light into the daily Lives of the People who live under its nurturing wings. It affords us the Freedom and Liberty to think as we want, live where we want and pursue whatever legitimate endeavour that suits us.

21. Democracy does not assume some false or forced unity of opinion. In fact, Democracy assumes that conflicting Ideas and differing Opinions shall be the Order of the Day. Given the diversity and variety of the Human Experience, there must be diverse perspectives and viewpoints.

22. What Democracy demands is that we do not resolve differences through force and repression. But we make allowance for the legitimacy of views that differ from our own.  

23. Where other Forms of Government impose against the Will of the People, Democracy aims to make Leaders sufficiently humble that they conduct themselves as Servants of the Common Good, not as Viceroys of the narrow Interests of the Mighty.

24. My dear Compatriots, Nigeria faced a decision of untold gravity twenty-five years ago: Whether to veer toward a better destination or continue aimlessly in the fog of Dictatorship.

25. We made the right choice then. We must continue with that choice now.

26. As Nigerians, we must remind ourselves that no matter how complicated Democracy may be, it is the best Form of Governance in the long run. We must also be aware that there are those among us who will try to exploit current challenges to undermine, if not destroy, this Democracy for which so much has already been given. 

27. These People do this not to make things better but to subject all other People and things to their control and dominance until the point that, if you are not counted among their Elite, then your Life will be small and no longer owned by you. 

28. This is the great battle of our day and the major reason we specially celebrate this Democracy Day.

29. Fellow Nigerians, our Democracy is more than a historic fact. It is a living, breathing reality. 

30. The true meaning of this Day is not to focus solely on the great deeds of the past that have brought us to this point.  

31. Yes, we pay eternal honour to those who laid down their Lives, sacrificing everything to pave the way for the Nation. 

32. I stand uniquely placed in this regard. I was among those who took the risk to midwife the birth of our Democracy. I am now a direct and obvious Beneficiary of the fruits of those historic efforts.

33. As President of this Nation, I am morally and constitutionally bound to preserve this precious Form of Governance. I vow to do my utmost best to protect your Rights, Freedoms, and Liberties as Citizens of Nigeria.

34. Even more than that, I pledge to do whatever is necessary to cement Democracy as our Way of Life. 

35. Although the challenges are steep and multiple, I am grateful to lead Nigeria at this moment in her History and point in her Democratic Journey.  

36. I come before you also to declare that our most important Work remains before us. This real test has never been whether we would rise to challenge the slings of misfortune and grievous pain of Dictatorship.

37. The real test is whether we shall lower our guards as the shadow of despotism and its evident physical danger fade.

 38. I say to you here and now that as we celebrate the enshrinement of our Political Democracy, let us commit ourselves to the fulfilment of its equally important counterpart, the realisation of our Economic Democracy.

 39.  I understand the Economic difficulties we face as a Nation. 

 40. Our Economy has been in desperate need of Reform for decades. It has been unbalanced because it was built on the flawed Foundation of over-reliance on Revenues from the exploitation of Oil. 

 41. The Reforms we have initiated are intended to create a stronger, better Foundation for future growth. There is no doubt the Reforms have occasioned hardship. Yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the Economy over the long run so that everyone has access to Economic Opportunity, Fair Pay and Compensation for his Endeavour and Labour. 

 42. As we continue to reform the Economy, I shall always listen to the People and will never turn my back on you. 

43. In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organised Labour on a new National Minimum Wage. We shall soon send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our Law for the next five years or less.

44. In the face of Labour’s call for a National Strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the Workers as a Dictatorial Government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict.

 45. No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the Labour Leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith Resolution.  

 46. Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are Hallmarks of Democracy. These Themes shall continue to animate my Policies and Interaction with the Constituent Parts of our Political Economy.

 47. I take on this vital task without fear or favour and I commit myself to this Work until we have built a Nigeria where no man is oppressed.     

48. In the end, our National Greatness will not be achieved by travelling the easy road. It can only be achieved by taking the right one. 

 49. The words of the American President Franklin Roosevelt certainly ring true:

 “There are many ways of going forward. But only one way of standing still”!

50. We dare not slumber lest the good things awaiting our immediate future pass us by. We dare not plant our feet in idle standstill in the middle of the intersection of hope and despair. 

 51. We know the proper way forward and we shall take it!

 52. The initial rays of a brighter tomorrow now appear on the early horizon. An abundant future and our capacity to achieve that future lie within our reach. Democracy and the Institutions it begets offer to take us to our profound destination. 

53. Let us board this progressive train together. Together, let us move Nigeria forward. 

54. Let’s continue to keep the Fire of Democracy burning. Let’s keep the Torch lit for Generations to come. 

 55. May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and preserve our Democracy.

 56. I wish us all Happy Democracy Day.

 

  PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU, GCFR

02-Jun-2024 National Security and Renewed Hope Agenda: Keeping the promise in one year

National Security and Renewed Hope Agenda: Keeping the promise in one year

By Kayode Adebiyi

As President Bola Tinubu Administration clocks one year, one of the promises he made during the Campaigns before his Election was to tackle Insecurity headlong.

During his Inauguration on May 29, 2023, the President promised to prioritise Security, saying neither prosperity nor justice could prevail amidst Insecurity.

“To effectively tackle this menace, we shall reform both our Security Doctrine and its Architecture.

“We shall invest more in our Security Personnel, and this means more than an increase in number. We shall provide better Training, Equipment, Pay and Firepower,” the President said.

According to Security Analysts, those promises were not just founded on emptiness, as they are captured in the President’s Campaign Manifesto dubbed the Renewed Hope Agenda.

The Renewed Hope Agenda of the President on National Security is hinged on three Components: fighting Terrorism and violent Extremism, ending Oil Theft and Illegal Exploration of the Country’s Resources, and stamping out violent Secessionist Agitations.

The President acknowledged in that Policy Document that the Fundamental Responsibility of Government is to protect the Lives and Property of its Citizens.

He, therefore, promised to mobilise Nigeria’s National Security, Military and Law Enforcement Assets to protect all Nigerians from danger and the fear of danger.

He also promised to expand and improve upon the use of Technology, enhance Recruitment of Personnel, and bolster existing Agencies and Systems to achieve his Fundamental National Security Goals.

What has been achieved in one year?

In line with his promise to seek Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation, Nigeria hosted the Second Edition of the UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership Dialogue, through the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The Event allowed Nigeria and the UK to reaffirm the two Countries’ deep and long-standing Security and Defence Relationship.

Nigeria also successfully hosted the High-Level Africa Counter-Terrorism Meeting, which brought together five Heads of Government, including the UN Deputy Secretary-General, and Leaders of other key Global Bodies.

Those Discussions focused on stability in the Sahel Region and garnered significant commitments to combat Terrorism and violent Extremism.

In the Area of Cybersecurity, which is a component of National Security, ONSA organised Sensitisation Workshops across seven Sectors.

The Sectors are Telecommunications, Defence and Security, Education, Finance and Capital Market, Energy, Professional Organisations, the Private Sector and Judiciary.

The aim is to provide Information, strengthen Cybersecurity Governance and coordination and build the Capacity of relevant Stakeholders on their Responsibilities under the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS).

Along the line of the Provisions of the Renewed Hope Agenda, NSA Nuhu Ribadu also tackled three important National Security threats – Terrorism and violent Extremism, Oil Theft and Secessionist Agitation.

During an Inspection Tour of Oil and Gas Facilities in Abia and Rivers States Ribadu decried how the Country was still losing 400,000 Barrels of Crude Oil daily to Local and International Thieves.

According to the Director of Defence Media Operations,  Edward Buba, in the fight against Oil Theft, 1,437 Perpetrators were apprehended, with 363 neutralised. Additionally, 245 Kidnapped Hostages were rescued, leading to a marked decrease in Insurgent activities.

In less than a year, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) puts Nigeria’s Oil Production at 1.28 million Barrels per day (bpd), signifying a 4.07 per cent increase from the 1.23 million bpd recorded in March 2024 — also indicating the first Month-on-Month Production Growth in the year.

Under the Tinubu Administration, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) said its Counter-Terrorism and Insurgency Operations have led to the neutralisation of 9,303 Insurgents, the arrest of 6,998 Individuals, and the rescue of 4,641 Hostages.

The MNJTF also said that 9,562 Boko Haram/ISWAP Combatant Fighters and their Families surrendered to Security Forces.

Also, within a year, successful intelligence-led Operations have prevented numerous Terrorist Attacks and Criminal Activities.

High-profile Terrorist Commanders and their Associates were also said to be apprehended across multiple States, preventing potential catastrophic Incidents.

Confiscations include Illegal Items such as IEDs, Firearms, Ammunition, and dangerous Psychoactive Substances.

Available Media Content shows that Troops across various Theatres of Operations in the Country in separate Operations recovered over 21,000 Pump Action Cartridges, 440 Pump Action Rifles, and 228,741 Rounds of Ammunition within the past year, preventing potential attacks by recovering Suicide Jackets and Lethal Weapons.

On Regional Security and Stability, President Tinubu, as the Chairman of the ECOWAS, emphasised the importance of Regional and International Cooperation to effectively combat Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and the Financing of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

To this end, his Government demonstrated the importance when the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) retrieved 20,000 Small Arms and 60,000 Units of Ammunition in Nigeria.

Police Reform is another Area in which the Administration has ticked the box.

As Chair of the Nigeria Police Council (NPC), the President set up a Constitutional Review Committee to carry out comprehensive Police Reforms.

The Committee, among other tasks, was charged to assess the lapses in the 1999 Constitution that are holding back Reforms of the Nigeria Police Force as well as enhance coordination and align Technology and Manpower Resources towards strengthening the Police.

As many Public Commentators have said, one year could be insufficient to analyse the performance of a Government, especially one carrying out Structural Reforms.

However, when it comes to National Security, there is a feeling that the Administration of President Tinubu was already putting in place Measures to sustain Security of Lives and Property of all Citizens.

 

Credit Kayode Adebiyi/NAN: Texts excluding Headline

01-Jun-2024 Nigeria Police under Tinubu Administration: Matters arising

Nigeria Police under Tinubu Administration: Matters arising

By Monday Ijeh

Over the years, the dehumanising Working Conditions of Policemen, especially the Rank and File, has been a striking point.

Successive Administrations have largely ignored it and where remedial measures were taken they were grossly inadequate.

Promises to improve their Salaries, Barracks, Allowances and other Welfare Packages were often unfulfilled.

Security Experts say these challenges hindered Professionalism, effective service delivery in a system where success largely depends on Welfare of Personnel.

There have been calls for deliberate Policies to improve Police Welfare in the Areas of Housing, Promotion, Medics, Wards and Children’s Education, Pension and Gratuities.

The Experts also called on the Authorities to provide care for Families of Officers who died in Active Service.

Prominent Nigerians have called for better Welfare Package for Policemen and Women.

Former Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda says doing so would ensure effective and efficient Service Delivery.

Yuguda spoke during Public Presentation of a Book, Police and Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria, Contemporary Evaluation.

“There must be Incentive Package for Police Personnel to discourage them from accepting Incentives to do wrong and to ensure effective and efficient Service Delivery.

“Government must invest and not neglect the Nigeria Police to expect better Service Delivery,” he said.

To bridge the Working Equipment gap, some Governors have made donations to the Police Command in their States.

For instance, recently Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun used the occasion of visit by Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun to donate 25 new Patrol Vehicles and a state-of-art Surveillance Drones to the Police Command in the State.

The Lagos-Ibandan Expressway is one of the most difficult Areas to police in the Country with Kidnapping and Armed Robbery being a regular occurrence on the Road.

“One of the reasons why we took the decision to acquire this Drone was because of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“It remains one of our most Vulnerable points for those that are travelling through Ogun State, being the Gateway to the rest of the Country and the West African Sub-Region”, the Governor told Egbetokun.

Upon the Appointment of Egbetokun as the 22nd Inspector-General of Police (I-G) by President Bola Tinubu on June 19, 2023 he identified the Welfare of Personnel as a cornerstone of his Reign.

Egbetokun held that a key aspect of enhancing Policemen Conditions was the provision of appropriate Housing during and after their Service and payment of Insurance Claims to Families of Officers who died in Active Service.

He said the current Housing Capacity meets only about 10 per cent of the Needs of more than 400,000 strong Workforce of the Nigeria Police.

The I-G, therefore, hinted on plans to establish N100bn Police Housing Fund to address the Housing Needs of Personnel.

Care and support have been extended to the Families of Deceased Officers as the I-G recently presented N1.6bn to Families of 727 of such Policemen.

He said the money was the Insurance Claims for the Deceased covering 2018/2019, 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 under the Group Life Assurance Policy of the Nigeria Police Force.

The Welfare and Professionalism among Police Personnel has received attention from the Highest Office in the Country.

President Bola Tinubu, at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Police Awards and Commendations Ceremony, stressed the need for more Training with the 21st Century Police expectations.

“In our tradition of honouring the Police Force in the life of this great Nation, we have approved the Adoption of the first week of April as Police Week. Furthermore, the last day of the week, the 7th of April, is hereby declared National Police Day in Nigeria.

“I must remind you that we don’t see you as just the Shields of the Nation. We don’t see you as Robots. We humanise you,” Tinubu was quoted by the Media as saying.

Tinubu lauded the conceptualisation of Police Veterans’ Foundation, an Initiative of Solomon Arase, a former I-G and Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC).

“The conceptualisation of the Police Veterans’ Foundation is not only thoughtful but a great Initiative.  It is important we reflect on the Cost of Peace and Security in Nigeria’’ he said.

“This is to enable us fully appreciate and thank our Police Veterans, for placing the Nation’s Security before their own Lives,” he said.

He said the courage, sacrifices and commitment of the Veterans to Peace and Security, had created a huge debt that Nigeria cannot commensurately repay.

Mogaji Ibrahim-Olaniyan, National Chairman of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), said the Appointment of Egbetokun by Tinubu as the I-G has led to giant stride to enhance the Welfare of Police Personnel.

According to him, the initiation of the Award Scheme was inspiring and motivating and enjoined Nigerians to support the current Police Leadership and urged the Federal Government to make Fund available for the Nigeria Police Operations.

While the past year has given Police Personnel a glimpse of hope concerning their welfare, observers say the authorities should match words with action.

They also call for more Equipment to bring the Police at par with its counterparts in other parts of the World. 

 

Credit NAN/Monday Ijeh: Texts excluding Headline

30-May-2024 NCC: A Digital Enabler of the Renewed Hope Agenda

NCC: A Digital Enabler of the Renewed Hope Agenda

In Nigeria, a Young Tech-Savvy and Upwardly Mobile Population is teeming, and exploring derivable benefits of Digital Technologies. They are propelled by rapidly expanding Internet Access and steady Broadband Penetration, currently about 43 per cent. Our Digital Economy is poised for significant growth, positively impacting various Sectors and benefiting the Nation through enhanced Connectivity and Digital Skills.

Digital Transformation is happening Globally at a record pace. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, for example, Remote Work and Virtual Collaboration Tools took centre stage; Platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet became—and still are—essential for Meetings, Conferences and Team Collaboration. E-commerce and Online Retail have transformed how Consumers seamlessly order and receive Goods and Services.

Even traditionally Brick-and-Mortar Businesses are changing the ways they engage with their Customers through introduction of Digital Solutions to improve the Customer Experience. It is a no-brainer that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are revolutionising our Lives for the better, whether in Education, Healthcare Delivery, Living, Public Services, Energy Management, and much more.

Suffice to say, that underpinning this Global Digital Transformation is the indispensable Role of Telecommunications Infrastructure. Universal, affordable, reliable and fast Telecom Services are becoming Social Rights, as Mobile Networks and Data-Centres form the backbone for Digital Transformation by enabling the storage and processing of large amounts of Data as well as the integration of Digital Technologies into numerous use cases.

For President Bola Tinubu, the Renewed Hope Agenda draws us all to a more promising outlook. Inherent in his Agenda is the pledge to embolden and support the Youth and Women by harnessing emerging Sectors such as the Digital Economy.

In delivering this vision, the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani unveiled a Blueprint appropriately titled – “Accelerating our Collective Prosperity through Technical Efficiency” with the goal of supporting Nigeria’s Economic Growth by enhancing Productivity, facilitated by Digital Innovation.

Acknowledging the criticality of resilient Telecommunications Infrastructure to a robust Digital Economy, Tijani’s Strategic Agenda 2023 — 2027 sets targets to achieve a 50 per cent improvement in Quality of Service (QoS) by the end of 2024; to boost Nigeria’s Broadband Penetration rate to 70 per cent by the end of 2025; to deliver Data download speed of 25Mbps in Urban Areas and 10Mbps in Rural Areas by the end of 2025; to provide coverage for, at least, 80 per cent of the Country’s Population, especially the Underserved and Unserved Populations by the end of 2026; to reduce the gap of Unconnected Nigerians in Rural Areas from 61 per cent to less than 20 per cent by 2027; and to secure between 300 per cent to 500 per cent increase in Broadband Investment by the end of 2027. 

Drawing from the Strategic Agenda of the Ministry, Aminu Maida, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) has emplaced three Strategic Focus Areas for the Commission: The Consumers, the Industry and Licensees; and the Government.

Maida’s approach to delivering on President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda comes from the recognition that each of these Stakeholders has a unique perspective and different, occasionally-paradoxical expectations of the Commission. His goal is to forge a path that carefully balances each Stakeholder’s needs while meeting their expectations.

Consider the Consumers—who are central to Maida’s focus—for example. His approach focuses on ensuring that they receive an enhanced Quality of Experience, beyond the narrow and very technically-evaluated Quality of Service.

Quality of experience takes into account all touch points along the Consumers journey in using Telecom Services from selection, through on boarding, usage, support and even off-boarding. This means that, Consumers are empowered to make the right Network Selection, enjoy a seamless onboarding into the Network of their choice, enjoy quality Service at fair Costs, receive responsive Customer Service and enjoy protected off-boarding where they chose to leave the Network.

To address Consumer complaints on Data depletion, the Commission has directed Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to conduct an Independent Audit of their Billing Systems and is concluding a Consultation Process to simplify Tariff Plans. These Initiatives would provide enhanced transparency to the Consumer. 

The Commission, under Maida, rather than taking a National outlook on Data collection for Quality-of-Service Delivery, has adopted an approach where more Granular Data is collected from Operators and analysed to determine quality of Service at very small, local levels,  to allow the deployment of Optimised Solutions or Regulatory actions where needed. 

On the side of the Industry and Licensees of the Commission, Maida’s focus is aimed at forging a resilient Industry and enhancing the delivery of Regulatory Services. Since he came on board, the Commission has shown commitment to tackling Industry Debt Issues more seriously.

It has also embarked on critical Advocacy Initiatives to address long-term challenges in the Sector, including Advocacy for designating Telecom Infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure, as well as successfully persuading over six States to waive Right of Way (RoW) Fees, even as he initiates Discussions with more States.

The Commission, under Maida’s Leadership, is equally engaging with the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms towards addressing Multiple Taxation Issues in the Telecoms Sector.

In order to ensure that the Industry is in line with current realities, the Commission is also undertaking a Review of its extant Regulatory Instruments and Licensing Frameworks. For instance, Quality of Service Regulations have been reviewed to incorporate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for 5G and other Participants that are critical to the Quality of Service.

By achieving expected QoS KPIs, high-speed internet connectivity, and forging a resilient and innovative Telecommunications Industry, the Commission is actively supporting the Ministry's vision of boosting Economic Growth and Productivity through Technological Innovation, delivering on the promise of Renewed Hope for all Nigerians.

 

Credit NCC PR

30-May-2024 One Year of the Tinubu Administration: Building a safer, stronger and prosperous Nigeria

One Year of the Tinubu Administration: Building a safer, stronger and prosperous Nigeria

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's historic victory and assumption of office on May 29, 2023, marked a significant turning point in Nigeria's democratic journey. His commitment to democracy and visionary leadership, encapsulated in the 8-Point Renewed Hope Agenda, have inspired confidence and trust among Nigerians, promising a new era of hope and transformation.

Economic Rebirth: Facing economic turmoil, widespread poverty, and rising unemployment, President Tinubu implemented bold reforms to stabilise the economy. The withdrawal of the unsustainable fuel subsidy and the unification of the FOREX market were pivotal steps, redirecting funds to critical sectors like healthcare, education, and infrastructure. These measures have reduced petrol importation by 50% and boosted investor confidence, making the Nigerian Stock Exchange the top-performing bourse globally.

Strengthening National Security: President Tinubu has prioritised national security, leading to significant investments in modernising and equipping the nation's security forces. Over 4,600 hostages have been freed, more than 9,300 hostiles neutralized, and over 7,000 terrorists and bandits arrested. Establishing the N50 billion Pulako Initiative and annually recruiting 30,000 new police personnel further underscore the administration's commitment to a safer Nigeria.

Boosting Agriculture and Food Security: To tackle food security, the administration declared a state of emergency and launched the National Agricultural Development Fund with N100 billion. Initiatives like the Dry Season Farming Initiative and the Green Imperative Programme aim to promote year-round farming and provide farmers with access to modern equipment and low-interest loans, ensuring a stable food supply.

Unlocking Energy and Natural Resources: The Renewed Hope Agenda focuses on developing renewable energy sources and enhancing the efficiency of the oil and gas sector. Policy directives have improved the investment climate, increased crude oil and NLNG production, and initiated significant projects like rehabilitating the Port Harcourt refinery and constructing the Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kano Gas Pipeline.

Transforming Infrastructure and Transportation: Significant investments in infrastructure are underway, including operationalising the Port Harcourt-Aba rail line and constructing the Lagos-Calabar Super Highway. The Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund aims to raise N20 trillion to deliver critical projects and modernise ports and aviation facilities, creating an enabling environment for businesses.

Improving Education, Health, and Social Investment: The administration is expanding primary health centres and upgrading tertiary hospitals, ensuring better access to healthcare. The Student Loans Act 2024 and the establishment of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund highlight a commitment to broadening access to education. Social welfare schemes, including cash transfers and microcredit programmes, aim to uplift vulnerable households and support small businesses.

Accelerated Diversification through Youth-Driven Industrialization, Digitization, and Innovation: Recognising the youth as invaluable assets, the administration has launched initiatives like the Three Million Technical Talent Initiative and the iDICE Programme to empower young Nigerians with digital skills. The National Job Centre and the National Talent Programme aim to create employment opportunities and support youth-owned enterprises.

Improved Governance for Effective Service Delivery: To enhance service delivery, the administration has introduced the MOBILIZER app for citizen engagement and launched the Citizens’ Delivery Tracker App to assess public officials' performance. Reforms recommended by the Oronsaye Report aim to rationalise and restructure government agencies, increasing transparency and efficiency.

Conclusion: The Renewed Hope Agenda is a comprehensive strategy driving Nigeria towards sustainable development and improved quality of life. President Tinubu's administration is laying the foundation for lasting progress and a brighter future for all Nigerians through strategic investments, youth empowerment, and improved governance.

 

 

Introduction

Nigeria's democratic journey has often been met with challenges. But President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's election marked a significant turning point. His historic victory and assumption of office on May 29, 2023, heralded a new era of hope and transformation for the nation.

As a statesman with remarkable credentials and a commitment to democracy, President Tinubu has long been a unifying force across Nigeria. His tireless efforts in building bridges and listening to Nigerians' concerns, hopes, and aspirations have positioned him as a leader capable of realising the dreams of a united, prosperous, and inclusive Nigeria. His vision is encapsulated in the 8-Point Renewed Hope Agenda, which has inspired confidence and trust among the electorate.

The 8-Point Renewed Hope Agenda

1  Reforming the Economy for Inclusive Growth

2  Strengthening National Security

3  Boosting Agriculture for Food Security

4  Unlocking Energy and Natural Resources

5  Enhancing Infrastructure and Transportation

6  Focusing on Education, Health, and Social Investment

7  Accelerating Diversification through Industrialisation, Digitisation, Creative Arts, Manufacturing, and Innovation

8  Improving Governance for Effective Service Delivery

 

Economic Rebirth

President Tinubu assumed office during one of Nigeria's most challenging periods, marked by economic turmoil, widespread poverty, rising unemployment, and public disillusionment. Faced with these daunting realities, the administration took decisive action and implemented long-overdue reforms to save the economy from collapse.

Bold and strategic measures were necessary to address the deep-rooted structural deficiencies and systemic challenges that plagued the economy. Despite our country’s complexities and some citizens’ resistance to change, President Tinubu remained resolute in his commitment to steering the nation toward stability and prosperity.

One of the foremost steps was the withdrawal of the unsustainable fuel subsidy, which drained approximately $10 billion annually, or 2% of the nation’s GDP. This move allowed for the redirection of funds towards critical sectors such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and security, which directly impact citizens' well-being and prosperity. The policy has already led to a 50% reduction in petrol importation and increased monthly receipts for states and local governments from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).

The administration also ended the foreign exchange subsidy, unifying the FOREX rate market to reflect the actual value of the Naira. Reforms in the Bureau De Change (BDC) operations and the lifting of FOREX restrictions on certain imports boosted investor confidence. These measures helped the Central Bank of Nigeria settle a $7 billion backlog in foreign exchange, making the Nigerian Stock Exchange the top-performing bourse globally and the Naira one of the top-performing currencies as of April 2024.

Reforms in the power sector aim to sustain electricity subsidies for 85% of Nigerian consumers, cutting back on subsidies for affluent individuals, businesses, and industrial clusters. The establishment of a Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform Committee seeks to reform the tax system and reduce the tax burden on Nigerians.

The administration's removal of fuel subsidy was accompanied by comprehensive intervention programmes to cushion the transitional pains of the policy. These programmes include:

1.A wage award of N35,000 monthly for civil servants for six months.

2.Setting up a tripartite committee to work out a new minimum wage for workers.

3.Establishing an Infrastructure Support Fund for states.

4.Launching a N100 billion CNG bus rollout programme.

5.Commencing a monthly Conditional Cash Transfer of N25,000 to 15 million vulnerable households for three months.

6.Providing N50 billion in Conditional Grants to one million nano-businesses and a N75 billion fund to support manufacturing enterprises.

7.Launching the National Philanthropy Office (NPO) to mobilise $200 million in private investments.

8.Establishing a N5 billion single-digit interest fund in partnership with Sterling Bank through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

 

On the international front, President Tinubu has actively pursued foreign direct investment, enhanced international partnerships, and showcased Nigeria’s vast opportunities. These efforts have already garnered interest in investing over $30 billion in key sectors of the nation’s economy.

Strengthening National Security for Peace and Prosperity

Nigeria's ongoing battle with banditry, kidnapping, insurgency, and other security challenges remains a formidable threat. President Tinubu has prioritised securing lives and properties in his Renewed Hope Agenda.

 

Significant investments in modernizing and equipping the nation’s security forces have yielded results: over 4,600 hostages have been freed, more than 9,300 hostiles neutralized, and over 7,000 terrorists, bandits, and criminals arrested. Additionally, over 4,800 assorted weapons and more than 93,900 rounds of ammunition have been recovered from June 2023 to date.

The Nigerian Air Force has added five new aircraft to its fleet, including two Diamond 62 surveillance aircraft, two T-129 ATAK helicopters, and one King Air 360 ER, enhancing the fight against banditry and terrorism. A 2,200-member Mines Marshal Corps was also established to secure mining sites and curb illegal mining.

The annual recruitment of 30,000 new personnel into the Nigeria Police Force, up from 10,000, underscores the government's commitment to bolstering security. Efforts have also led to the deactivation of over 120 illegal oil refining sites, the seizure of 90 wooden boats, and the arrest of over 70 suspects and 14 vessels, thanks to the acquisition of advanced patrol vessels.

The Federal Government launched the N50 billion Pulako Initiative targeting seven states—Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Niger, Kaduna, Benue, and Kebbi—to combat banditry and cattle rustling. This initiative supports conflict resolution, community reconstruction, and assistance to farmers and herders. Vice President Kashim Shettima inaugurated the Steering Committee for the Initiative on February 13, 2024.

President Tinubu’s comprehensive security strategies address the root causes of insecurity, aiming to create a safer environment where citizens can live without fear.

Boosting Agriculture and Food Security

To ensure food sufficiency and tackle rising food prices, President Tinubu declared a state of emergency on food security and renamed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. The administration launched the National Agricultural Development Fund with N100 billion to address agricultural financing challenges. Additionally, 42,000 metric tonnes of assorted grains, including sorghum, millet, maize from the National Strategic Grain Reserves and 60,000 metric tonnes of rice through millers were released to vulnerable Nigerians through the 36 state governors and the FCT, in a bid to stabilise food supply. The Central Bank donated 2.15 million bags of fertiliser worth N100 billion to support farming.

 

The administration introduced the Dry Season Farming Initiative on 500,000[1] hectares of farmland, financed by the African Development Bank with $134 million to promote year-round farming. Partnerships with John Deere aim to supply 2,000 tractors annually for five years under a unique financing arrangement supported by low-interest loans from the Bank of Agriculture. The Green Imperative Programme, a $1 billion bilateral partnership with the Brazilian Government, aims to provide farmers access to machines, equipment, and training. The Bank of Agriculture will support Nigerian farmers with low-interest loans to purchase fertilisers. Additionally, there is a N141 billion credit facility from a Japanese agency for agricultural scheme projects.

Unlocking Energy and Natural Resources for Sustainable Development

The nation's sustainable development critically relies on its energy and natural resources. The Renewed Hope Agenda focuses on developing renewable energy sources, enhancing the efficiency of the oil and gas sector, and ensuring that solid mineral resources benefit local communities and the nation.

To harness the nation's resources and diversify the economy for the benefit of all Nigerians, President Tinubu executed policy directives to improve the investment climate and position Nigeria as the preferred investment destination for Africa's oil and gas sector. Through enhanced security in the Niger Delta Region, the nation is witnessing a sustained increase in crude oil production, which rose from 1.22 million barrels per day in Q2 2023 to 1.6 million barrels per day in Q1 2024. The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) production also increased from 57% in 2023 to 70% presently.

The successful completion of the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery is already a potential boost to local refining capacity in the country. Additionally, the payment of $1.3 billion in debts owed to gas firms ensures a sustained gas supply to power-generating companies across the country.

President Tinubu's pursuit of purposeful policy in the sector is notably reflected in the widely acclaimed three Executive Orders: the Oil and Gas Companies (Tax Incentives, Exemption, Remission, etc.) Order, 2024; the Presidential Directive on Local Content Compliance Requirements, 2024; and the Presidential Directive on Reduction of Petroleum Sector Contracting Costs and Timelines, 2024. These orders suggest a strong desire to amend primary legislation and introduce fiscal incentives for oil and gas projects, reduce contracting costs and timelines, and promote cost efficiency in local content requirements.

The Executive Orders explicitly target over $10 billion in investment in the nation’s oil and gas sector. They streamline contracting processes, procedures, and timelines from 36 months to six months, ensuring that local content requirements are implemented without impeding investment.

In a complementary strategic move, the CNG Initiative introduced by the President indicates a game-changing direction to reduce the cost of production and transportation in the country following the withdrawal of fuel subsidy. Following this development, an N100 billion Presidential CNG initiative for procuring CNG-powered vehicles, conversion toolkits, and refuelling sites has been activated. This has attracted over $50 million in private investment within the last six months.

The Tinubu administration's effort to deepen CNG adoption has been largely acknowledged in several initiatives, including the concerted efforts to complete the construction of the Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project and the recent commissioning of three gas projects in Delta and Imo State. These initiatives underscore the administration's vision to ensure self-sufficiency in gas for domestic consumption and export.

In the non-oil sector, Nigeria’s economic prosperity is also associated with solid mineral resources. Scientific data confirm the abundance of precious minerals such as gold, manganese, bitumen, lithium, iron ore, lead, zinc, limestone, uranium, columbite, barite, kaolin, gemstones, coal, topaz, and copper.

To fully harness the potential in the solid minerals sector, the administration is pursuing a Seven Point Agenda, which includes:

1.The creation of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation.

2.Joint ventures with mining multinationals.

3.Big Data on seven priority minerals and their deposits.

4.A grace period for illegal miners to join artisanal cooperatives.

5.The introduction of a Mines Surveillance Task Force and Mine Police.

6.A comprehensive review of all mining licenses.

7.Six mineral processing centres were created to focus on value-added products.

 

Transforming Infrastructure and Transportation for Economic Growth

Infrastructure and transportation are critical enablers of economic growth. The Renewed Hope Agenda includes significant investments in roads, railways, ports, and airports to facilitate trade and movement.

The rail line between Port Harcourt and Aba, part of the 1,443-kilometre Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail line, became operational under this administration. An ongoing effort is underway to rehabilitate the entire Eastern Corridor and provide alternative means of transportation for goods and services.

In March 2024, the Federal Government approved the launch of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RHIDF) to address the country's infrastructure funding gap. With an ambition to raise N20 trillion, the Fund aims to deliver projects such as the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, Sokoto-Badagry Expressway, Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Line, and Eastern Rail Lines, as well as modernise ports and aviation facilities.

Work has already begun on the construction of Nigeria’s first coastal highway, the 700 km Lagos-Calabar Super Highway, while the engineering design for the Sokoto-Badagry Expressway has commenced.

The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria’s seat of government, has virtually turned into a construction site due to the high volume of simultaneous construction activities. The FCT Monorail Project is also set for commissioning.

To complement these efforts at the state level, the President established an Infrastructure Support Fund for States to invest in critical areas that will create an enabling environment for businesses.

Housing infrastructure is also receiving attention, as the Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Programme, targeted to deliver 100,000 houses nationwide, has kicked off.

Under the Renewed Hope Agenda, various infrastructure projects spread across the country will progress steadily for the benefit of all Nigerians.

Improving Education, Health, and Social Investment for Sustainable Development

The administration of President Tinubu has prioritised primary health centres as essential components of the nation's healthcare system. These centres are crucial for providing preventive care, diagnosing and treating common ailments, and offering maternal and child health services, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

To improve access to healthcare, the administration plans to expand the number of primary health centres from 8,800 to 17,000 over the next three years. It has also allocated N50 billion for the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency in 2024 and is upgrading infrastructure in 12 tertiary hospitals across the six geopolitical zones. Additionally, N37.4 billion has been designated for establishing six oncology centres nationwide, and a $1 billion facility from AfreximBank has been secured to finance healthcare investments in Nigeria.

Regarding social investment, the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act 2024 and the establishment of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund highlight the administration's commitment to broadening access to education. The student loan programme aims to support 1.2 million students in its first phase. Furthermore, construction is underway for student hostels with a capacity of 1,600 across 24 tertiary institutions, and N5.1 billion has been approved for 185 research proposals under the TETFUND National Research Fund to promote educational research.

The administration has also initiated several social welfare schemes, including a Presidential Approval for cash transfer of N25,000 monthly to 15 million of Nigeria's poorest and most vulnerable households for three months. The Consumer Credit Scheme has been established to provide Nigerians with access to credit to improve their lives and businesses. Additionally, the Federal Government has launched a microcredit scheme targeting 1.5 million traders and farmers in its first phase, with various demographic appeals such as:

—Owo Oja / Olilanya Ndi Nagbambo / Tallafin Sana’a

—Owoagbe / Olilanya Ndi Oru Ugbo / Tallafin Manoma

—Iyaloja / Nne Ahia / Agajin Yan Kasuwa

 

Accelerated Diversification through Youth-Driven Industrialization, Digitization, and Innovation

Under the Tinubu administration, there is a renewed focus on empowering the youth by recognising them as invaluable assets to the nation's progress and prosperity. Through a strategic approach to governance, the President has prioritised youth inclusion by providing more appointments in government and implementing policies aimed at harnessing their immense potential for economic development.

By actively involving the youth in decision-making processes and leadership roles, President Tinubu seeks to ensure that their voices are heard and their perspectives considered in shaping Nigeria's future. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among young people while cultivating a culture of innovation and creativity essential for sustainable growth.

To realise this vision, programmes such as the Three Million Technical Talent Initiative (3MTT) were launched. This three-year partnership with HIS Nigeria aims to establish 3MTT Learning communities nationwide to empower youth with digital skills. Closely related to 3MTT is the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprise (iDICE) Programme. This collaborative effort between the government and international partners, including the Bank of Industry (BoI), African Development Bank (AfDB), French Development Agency (FDA), and Islamic Development Bank (IDB), aims to nurture and empower enterprises in the digital and creative sectors. The $617.7 million iDICE programme, endorsed by the National Economic Council (NEC), will be implemented across all 36 states and the FCT.

Additionally, the Tinubu administration unveiled the National Job Centre, a groundbreaking innovation to revolutionise the job market and foster better employment opportunities for Nigerian youth. Powered by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, the Centre is a centralised platform to match available vacancies in industries and businesses nationwide with the vast talent pool of job seekers. Utilising state-of-the-art technology and innovative matchmaking algorithms, the Job Centre connects employers with qualified candidates, streamlining the recruitment process and maximising efficiency.

The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) will also implement the Skill-UP Artisans Programme (SUPA) to empower about 10 million artisans within two years. The programme will provide tech-enabled skills training, licensing, and access to essential toolkits.

The Federal Government launched the National Talent Programme (NATEP) to advance job creation, skills development, talent exports, and job outsourcing, aiming to create about one million jobs within five years. This programme engages world-class organisations and governments to foster its implementation.

NATEP represents a significant milestone in President Tinubu’s commitment to unlocking the full potential of the nation's human capital and promoting economic growth and prosperity for all.

The Outsource to Nigeria Initiative (OTNI), launched by Vice-President Kashim Shetimma in Gombe, is a partnership between the public and private sectors to unlock millions of job opportunities in the country’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and IT-enabled services sector.

Phenomenally, the approval of the policy mandating a minimum of 30% youth representation in all government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies was a game changer. This landmark decision underscores the President’s belief in the potential and talent of young people and his government’s firm commitment to harnessing their energy and creativity for the betterment of our nation.

Another pivotal development in the ongoing efforts to empower and uplift Nigerian youth is the president's approval to restructure and institutionalize the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund. This crucial instrument supports youth-owned enterprises in priority sectors with N25 billion from the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Act and an additional N25 billion from the 2024 Appropriation Act.

The President established the Federal Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Creative Economy to provide the institutional framework to drive the art and creative economy. This new ministry aims to foster the growth and development of the creative industries and ensure they contribute significantly to the nation's economy.

Improved Governance for Effective Service Delivery

Institutionalising and deepening good governance is crucial to achieving the president's Renewed Hope Agenda. The administration is implementing various policy initiatives to enhance service delivery in line with this major objective.

One of these initiatives is the unveiling of the MOBILIZER app for citizen engagement and mobilisation by the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation. This tool ensures that citizens are well-informed about government activities, policies, and programmes, enabling them to participate actively in the governance process and contribute to national development as critical stakeholders. At the institutional level, regular and consistent ministerial press briefings, press conferences, and stakeholders’ forums have been established to engage the public.

In line with the recommendation of the Oronsaye Report, the administration has acknowledged the need to cut the cost of governance. This involves rationalising and restructuring government agencies to make them optimally functional, curb duplication of functions, and enhance their effectiveness.

Furthermore, the administration is on a steady course towards restoring public trust in governance. This effort begins with a review of national consciousness through the development of the policy document for the soon-to-be-launched National Values Charter, as initiated by President Tinubu. Complementing this is the planned launch of the Citizens’ Delivery Tracker App, which will enable Nigerians to assess the performance of public officials. One year into this journey, a new horizon is emerging to inspire greater patriotism and redefine credibility in the expectations of most Nigerians.

 

Tinubu's Anti-Corruption Policy: Progress and Initiatives

Since assuming office, President Bola Tinubu has made significant strides in tackling corruption in Nigeria. His administration's anti-corruption policy builds on previous efforts while introducing new measures to enhance transparency, accountability, and good governance.

A cornerstone of President Tinubu's strategy is reinforcing anti-corruption institutions, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). The administration promptly appointed credible and dynamic leadership to these agencies and provided them with increased funding, better training, and advanced technological tools.

Recognizing the judiciary's critical role in combating corruption, President Tinubu has initiated reforms to ensure its independence and efficiency. This includes appointing judges with proven integrity and competence, fast-tracking corruption-related cases, and working towards increasing the salaries and emoluments of judicial officers.

The Tinubu administration has launched several initiatives to enhance transparency and accountability in the public sector. These efforts include the digitalization of government services to reduce opportunities for corrupt practices. Additionally, various agencies have invested in advanced technologies, such as blockchain for tracking financial transactions, artificial intelligence for data analysis, and forensic tools for detailed investigations.

Recognizing the international dimensions of corruption, President Tinubu has enhanced cooperation with other countries and organizations, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Interpol, to track and recover stolen assets stashed abroad.

Under Tinubu's leadership, several high-profile corruption cases have been pursued involving politicians, business executives, and public officials. These actions demonstrate a commitment to tackling corruption at all levels, serving as a deterrent and underscoring the administration's zero-tolerance policy towards corruption.

The Constituency and Executive Project Tracking Initiative, launched by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in April 2019, aims to tackle corruption by promoting good governance, transparency, and accountability in the use of government funds. During Phase Six (November 2023 to May 2024), the ICPC achieved notable successes, including recovering misappropriated funds and assets, compelling contractors to complete abandoned projects, and prosecuting those involved in mismanagement, including public servants and members of the National Assembly. The ICPC tracked 1,721 projects across 25 states, valued at N284 billion. This phase resulted in N29.5 billion worth of projects being resumed, N675 million in cash and asset recoveries, and overall savings of over N30 billion for the government.

 

The Tinubu administration has focused on educating the public about the dangers of corruption and the importance of integrity. Nationwide campaigns have been launched to promote ethical behavior and encourage citizens to participate in the fight against corruption.

 

Transforming Nigerian Sports: Achievements and Milestones Under President Tinubu

Under President Tinubu's administration, the Ministry of Sports has achieved significant milestones aimed at enhancing sports development in Nigeria and elevating the country's international sporting profile. A substantial budget allocation of N31.239 billion for the 2024 fiscal year has been dedicated to supporting various sporting activities, infrastructure development, and operational costs. This budget includes specific funds for the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Nigeria Institute of Sports (NIS), ensuring comprehensive support for sports development across the country. Additionally, the administration has offset over 12 billion naira in outstanding debts for various national football teams.

Significant investments have been made in renovating and upgrading sports facilities. The administration has also promoted private sector investment in sports, viewing it as a business. This approach is exemplified by the implementation of the National Sports Industry Policy (NSIP), leading to landmark partnership agreements between the Federal Ministry of Sports Development and private-sector organizations like Yanga Games Technology (YGT), EFFA Management Consortium, and GTI Assets. These partnerships aim to develop sporting infrastructure, raise revenue, and expand the followership and spectatorship of sports.

Grassroots sports development has been another significant focus, with efforts to identify and nurture young talent from various parts of the country, ensuring a continuous pipeline of skilled athletes who can represent Nigeria in various sports disciplines both locally and internationally.

Under President Tinubu’s leadership, Nigerian athletes have excelled on the international stage, demonstrating their prowess in major events such as the African Cup of Nations, the African Games, and the World Relay Championships in the Bahamas. The administration has prioritized preparing Team Nigeria for global competitions like the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, with strategic planning and resource allocation directed towards comprehensive training programs and enhanced facilities to ensure optimal performance.

Notable achievements include the senior national football team, the Super Eagles, winning silver at the African Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire, marking their first finals appearance and silver medal in 23 years. The Super Falcons, Nigeria’s female national team, qualified for the Paris Olympics 2024, ending a 16-year Olympic drought. At the African Games in Accra, Ghana, Nigeria placed 2nd. Additionally, Victor Osimhen was named African Footballer of the Year, the first Nigerian to receive the honor in 24 years. These accomplishments highlight Nigeria's competitive spirit and commitment to excellence in sports.

 

Gender and Inclusion

President Tinubu has made significant strides in promoting the inclusion of women across various sectors in Nigeria, reflecting a deep commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women. One of the most notable achievements has been the appointment of nine women to ministerial positions, with key appointments in ministries, departments, and agencies traditionally managed by men.

On International Women’s Day, President Tinubu unveiled several initiatives aimed at empowering women, aligning with his broader agenda for gender equality. These initiatives focus on providing investments in education, healthcare, and economic opportunities for women and girls.

Economic empowerment programs have been a cornerstone of President Tinubu's strategy to enhance women's roles in the economy. The administration has launched programs that provide vocational training, startup kits, and access to funding, aiming to support women's financial independence and entrepreneurial endeavors. In addition to general economic empowerment initiatives such as the Owo oja and Iyaloja schemes, specific support has been directed toward women with disabilities. This includes their inclusion in the National Business Skills Development Initiative (NBSDI) recently launched by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), where they were trained in various vocational skills and empowered with startup kits and funds to start their businesses.

Another significant program is the Women and Girls Educational and Skills Empowerment initiative. This program seeks to connect with the 36 state governors, raise awareness on disability issues, facilitate compliance with disability norms, provide technical support, rate and induct compliant administrators into the disability-friendly Hall of Fame, and continue monitoring their compliance.

 

Conclusion

The Tinubu administration's Renewed Hope Agenda is a comprehensive strategy aimed at transforming Nigeria across various sectors, ensuring sustainable development, and improving the quality of life for all citizens. The administration has made significant strides from enhancing infrastructure and transportation to investing in education, health, and social welfare. Key initiatives, such as the Dry Season Farming Initiative, the Green Imperative Programme, and the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund, underscore a commitment to economic growth and diversification.

Empowering the youth through policies like the 30% representation mandate and the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund reflects the administration's dedication to harnessing the younger generation's potential. Establishing the Federal Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Creative Economy, alongside the 3 Million Technical Talent Initiative and the iDICE Programme, highlights a forward-thinking approach to fostering innovation and creativity.

Good governance and effective service delivery are also at the forefront of the Renewed Hope Agenda. The introduction of tools like the MOBILIZER app and the Citizens’ Delivery Tracker App, coupled with the rationalisation of government agencies as recommended by the Oronsaye Report, illustrates the administration's resolve to increase transparency, efficiency, and public trust in governance.

In conclusion, the Renewed Hope Agenda is paving the way for a more prosperous, inclusive, and resilient Nigeria. President Tinubu's administration is laying the foundation for l

24-Apr-2024 Declaration of African Counter Terrorism Meeting in Abuja

Declaration of African Counter Terrorism Meeting in Abuja

We, the Heads of State and Government of Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, the Prime Minister of Mauritania, the Ministers of Defence, the National Security Advisors, and Senior Government Representatives of African Union Member States, the African Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanism, African Union Commission, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, Africa’s Development Partners, and over twenty Civil Society Organisations converged at the High – Level African Counter – Terrorism Meeting, from 22nd to 23rd April 2024, in Abuja, Nigeria, under the theme: “Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Institution Building to Address the Evolving Threat of Terrorism in Africa”:

  • Recognizethe continuing relevance of the instruments adopted by the African Union/Organization of African Unity (OAU), including the Communiqués of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council as well as relevant normative frameworks of all participating Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms, aimed at addressing the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism on the African Continent;
  • Recallin particular the desire of the African Union to silence the guns on the Continent by the year 2030 and note the fact that the spread of terrorism and violent extremism in different parts of the African Continent poses a significant threat to peace, security, and stability in Africa, as well as hinder progress being made towards the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and African Union Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want;
  • Acknowledgethat the growing activities of terrorist groups and the lethality of their attacks particularly in parts of West Africa and the Sahel, Central, Eastern and Northern Africa, is exacerbating insecurity in these regions;
  • Notethat terrorist groups with affiliations to Al-Qaeda and/or Da’esh capitalize on local grievances, frequently rooted in inequalities, poor governance, lack of development, violations and abuses of human rights, as well as the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, to forge extensive operational networks and disseminate radical ideologies; Further notes that these groups exploit instability and conflict to escalate attacks across the continent and expand their zone of influence and control;

 

  • Acknowledge the need to adequately address the root causes and structural drivers of terrorism, violent extremism in Africa and emphasize the imperative for greater collective action in addressing the challenges of terrorism and violent extremism on the Continent given its spiral effects;
  • Guided by our desire to have an important platform for focused discussions, exchange of experiences, and identification of practical strategies to address the evolving threat of terrorism on the continent, consider the High–Level African Counter–Terrorism Meeting held from 22nd– 23rd April 2024, as one in the series of events being considered as a part of the Abuja Process for addressing terrorism concerns and underscore the following as its focus:
  1. a) an African-led and African-owned approach to countering terrorism;
  1. b) strengthening regional and sub-regional cooperation,;
  2. c) encouraging prevention and effective counter measures to address the spread of terrorism, ;
  3. d) build capacities of Member States critically challenged by terrorism and violent extremist tendencies.
  • Recognised that the United Nations New Agenda for Peace seeks to enhance global peace and security through the building of trust, solidarity, universality and multilateralism, grounded in the UN Charter and further noting that the UN Summit of the Future, to be held in September 2024, in New York, presents an opportunity to build a more effective, inclusive, and renewed multilateralism tuned to the needs of the 21st century, including through forging international efforts to counter terrorism, and deepening investment in regional security and recognizing that the collective actions embodied in the “Pact for the Future,” of the Summit are intended to strengthen dedicated support to peace, security, and stability in Africa;
  • Guided by the above understanding, the High – Level African Counter – Terrorism Meeting was organized around the following four sessions:
  1. The evolving landscape of terrorist threat and operations in Africa;
  1. Lessons Learned and Best Practices in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism;
  1. Enhancing regional capacities to counter and prevent terrorism on the continent;
  2. Strengthening cooperation between international partners and African Member States affected by the scourge of terrorism.

       Hereby declare to undertake the following:

      ON THE EVOLVING TERRORIST THREAT LANDSCAPE IN AFRICA

  • Unequivocally condemn all manifestations of terrorism and violent extremism on the Continent of Africa and expressly reaffirm our collective commitment to strengthening the security of African States in line with the Common African Defense and Security Policy and within the spirit of finding African solutions to Africa’s security challenges;
  • Condemn in particular, increasing terrorist threat against vulnerable targets, including critical infrastructure and public places in some parts of the Continent;
  • Urge international partners to similarly affirm zero tolerance for terrorism regardless of the motives, and to take appropriate practical measures to ensure that their respective territories are not used by terrorists for the organization and or financing of terrorist acts to be committed against other States or their citizens;
  • Pay tribute to all African citizens and peace keeping and peace enforcement personnel who paid the ultimate sacrifice combating terrorist groups in the Continent and beyond;
  • Acknowledge the existence of critical gaps in counter-terrorism capabilities of most African countries and highlight the intersection of socio-economic disparities, political instability, armed conflict, porous borders, lack of cross-border cooperation, and governance challenges in the evolution of terrorist activities on the Continent;
  • Emphasise that only through unity and cooperation can Africa Member States be able to effectively counter terrorism on the Continent; In that connection, underscore the imperative for African Member States to prioritize countering terrorism within their territories and promoting balanced implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted through consensus by all Member States of the United Nations, as well as the AU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (1999); Plan of Action on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism in Africa, (2002) and the Protocol to the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (2004), and Malabo Declaration on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa (2022);
  • Note the imperative for effective responses to issues of terrorism and violent extremism on the Continent including through implementation of comprehensive border strategies and national action plans;

;

  • Agreed that climate insecurity could exacerbate fragile contexts as well as act as a risk multiplier in combination with other underlying drivers of violent extremism conducive to terrorism;
  • Condemn the growing use of a variety of new technologies for terrorist purposes, including use of remotely operated systems, to prepare or conduct terrorist attacks;
  • Express concerns over the undue targeting of youth online by terrorism groups, including through online gaming, gaming adjacent platforms and various social media platforms and in this regard, underscore the need for innovative approaches for countering online radicalization and exposure of African Youths to violent extremist tendencies and the recruitment efforts by terrorist groups. Also underscore the need to counter all mis/disinformation and hate speech leading to violent extremism, and encourage African Member States to leverage opportunities offered by digital tools, including artificial intelligence, to strengthen their counter-terrorism and preventive measures; Underline that respect for international humanitarian law, protection of civilians, ensuring humanitarian access and the prevention of the illicit sales of small arms and light weapons must be prioritized by all, in conflict contexts.

 

       ON COUNTERING TERRORISM AND PREVENTING VIOLENT EXTREMISM CONDUCIVE TO TERRORISM:         LESSONS LEARNED AND BEST PRACTICES

  • Shared lessons learned and good practices from national, regional, and global experiences in combating terrorism and preventing violent extremism and resolve to explore ways to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, including prioritizing investments in education, integration of counter-terrorism and violent extremism efforts into broader agendas linked to the SDG 16 and relevant aspirations of Agenda 2063
  • Reiterate the importance of promoting effective African-led and African-owned strategies for countering terrorism and in this regard, underscore the need to explore practical strategies for community-led approaches and meaningful/safe engagement of local communities, with the need for the United Nations, Africa’s Development partners and the international community to support such efforts that is grounded in local contexts and needs to ensure the achievement of the intended outcomes from their engagement;
  • Emphasise the need for African Leaders to promote youth empowerment and engagement, at both the strategic and operational levels, as an imperative for success given their roles as positive change-makers;
  • Underscore the need for the African Members States supported by the international community, particularly the United Nations and International partners to strengthen their respective control of arms and dual – use goods;
  • Reaffirm the importance of adopting comprehensive national, regional, and continental strategies to tackle the escalating menace of terrorism and its underlying causes, as well as all the factors that contribute to its expansion and dissemination; and in this context, we emphasize the need for countries affected by terrorism to mainstream political solutions to their ongoing security and military measures, and Stress the urgency of developing a comprehensive Continental Strategic Plan of Action on countering terrorism in Africa, to consolidate coordination and enhance actions;
  • Welcomed all African Member States that, at one point or the other, made efforts to address deep–rooted issues with genocidal potential, radicalization and violent extremism and in this connection, encourage peaceful settlement of underlying causes of inter and intra–community conflicts through the adoption of policies that discourages economic, religious and culture–based discriminatory practices/tendencies, the strengthening of inter and intra–community dialogues as well as the implementation of actions with potentials to consolidate social cohesion, promote the culture of peace, and prevent conflicts in societies;
  • Underline the need to promote the meaningful participation, leadership, and representation of women, youth, victims of terrorist activities and/or people in special situations in decision-making processes related to counter-terrorism;
  • Urge all United Nations and African Union Member States to enhance cooperation and collaboration in fighting the scourges of terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism and to deepen and intensify their collective security efforts, through joint operations, signing extradition agreements, as well as establishing platforms for sharing their experiences, best practices and lessons in preventing and combating terrorism, radicalization and extremism;
  • Emphasise the need to address terrorist propaganda based on inter–religious tensions and the clash of civilizations narrative; express respect for all faiths and belief systems noting that distorted narratives based on the misinterpretation and misrepresentation of religion to justify violence are often leveraged to recruit supporters, particularly foreign terrorist fighters, mobilize resources and garner support from sympathizers of terrorism groups and activities;
  • Call upon all external actors to cease support(s) to terrorist groups on the Continent and reiterate the request for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) from the Continent;
  • Acknowledge the establishment of the United Nations Integrated Border Stability Mechanism (IBSM) in 2023, considered that Models based on the IBSM framework could be useful for intercontinental, regional and sub-regional efforts and underscore the need for good practices on the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of FTFs to be strengthened and shared more widely, as has been done by UNOCT in collaboration with the Lake Chad Basin Commission in the past;
  • Recognise that innovative approaches, including those leveraging advanced behavioural science, are crucial for effectively tackling violent extremism and radicalization across the continent and in this regard, underscored that such strategies, as embodied in the work of the UNOCT Behavioural Insights Hub in Doha, could contribute significantly to building resilient societies better equipped to withstand and recover from the threats of extremism and radicalization;
  • Further recognise the importance of tackling terrorist financing through targeted and coordinated actions as well as the important role of international, regional, and sub-regional organizations in supporting African States, and in this regard, we welcome UNOCT’s commitment to deepening its support for FATF-Style Regional Bodies in Africa, particularly in the West African Sub – Region, as a way of by promoting the implementation of risk-based approaches to terrorist financing, and to ensure that resources are best allocated according to identified threats and documented vulnerabilities;
  • Resolve to strengthen our individual and collective fight against local and external financiers and funding sources for terrorism and terrorist activities in Africa and promote improvement in the management of natural resources in every part of the Continent;
  • Welcome the important role being played by International Centres for Counter Terrorism as independent think–and–do tanks shaping effective and evidence–based counter–terrorism and violent extremism policies, grounded in human rights and the rule of law across the world and in this connection, decide to upgrade the Nigerian National Counter–Terrorism Centre, Abuja, to a Regional Counter–Terrorism Centre;
  • Request the United Nations, particularly the United Nations Office for Counter–Terrorism and the United Nations Security Council, as well as the African Union, in particular, the African Union Peace and Security Council and the African Union Counter Terrorism Centre, and indeed, international partners, including the European Union, to provide the needed support and resources to ensure the upgrade as well as its immediate take off and effectiveness as a centre of excellence on issues of counter terrorism in Africa.

 

        ON ENHANCING REGIONAL CAPACITIES TO COUNTER AND PREVENT TERRORISM

  • Recognise the importance of promoting and effectively utilizing existing instruments and delivering on previous commitments, including those from the AU Extraordinary Summit held in Malabo in May 2022 and in this regard, we reiterate commitment to the implementation of the decisions related to counter-terrorism in the Declarations of the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government;

 

  • Call for the long-anticipated activation of the AU Peace and Security Council’s Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism to be immediately and fully operationalised to enable it fulfil its advisory mandate;
  • Affirm that regional economic communities and regional mechanisms are the building blocks for Africa’s continental integration agenda, as well as its peace and security architecture, hence the need to harness the potential of these structures to help strengthen the coordination of counter-terrorism efforts and deliver impactful support where it is needed most.
  • Welcome the regional mechanisms and initiatives established to address security challenges, including sub-regional security arrangements, such as the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram; Recall that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has stressed the imperative of improved coordination of counter-terrorism efforts, calling for the operationalization of the ECOWAS Standby Force;
  • Emphasise the need to further strengthen existing cooperation mechanisms at the regional and continental levels to enable them more effectively respond to the transnational nature of terrorism, and reiterated the imperative to connect counter-terrorism coordinators in various regions affected by terrorism on the African Continent for better coordination and the sharing of expertise and resources, where possible;
  • Express the desire of Regional Economic Communities and countries affected by the scourge of terrorism to benefit from the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact virtual platform; Urge all African Union Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms to fully utilize the cooperative mechanisms established to address country–and region–specific issues, most notably the Sahel Fusion and Liaison Unit (UFL), the Nouakchott Process on the Enhancement of Security Cooperation and the Operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahelo–Saharan Region, the Djibouti Process and the Accra and other initiatives established to respond to growing insecurity linked to violent extremism in the regions;
  • Call for the enhancement of coordination mechanisms between the UN and regional organizations, economic communities/mechanisms, such as the African Union (AU), EAC, ECCAS, ECOWAS, IGAD, AIMC and SADC, toward the fostering of synergies in joint programming and the enhancement of information-sharing amongst all key actors;
  • Welcome UNOCT’s capacity building programmes and work in the areas of fusion cells, border security, behavioural insights, countering the financing of terrorism, small arms and light weapons, investigations, cyber, preventing and countering violent extremism and protection of victims of terrorism;
  • Welcome the ongoing commitment of the UNOCT’s to the enhancement of interagency coordination and information sharing and we emphasize the need for international and regional organizations as well as international partners to prioritize providing capacity-building support that responds to the reality of African Member States in different sub-regional arrangements, including through the work of the UNOCT Rabat Training Centre for Africa and the UNOCT Nairobi Office;
  • Recognise the need for Africa to build strong and professional armies, equipped with the correct ideology of Non-Sectarianism; Pan-Africanism; and Nationalism, in order to defeat terrorism; and in this regard, reiteratesthe call for the immediate operationalization of the African Standby Force (ASF), the finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding between the AU and African Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanism on the ASF and the strengthening of coordination between the African Union Peace and Security Council, Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms on its utilization;

 

         ON STRENGTHENING COOPERATION BETWEEN INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS AND AFFECTED                       AFRICAN MEMBER STATES

  • Emphasise the need to pursue a multidimensional approach in addressing the structural root causes and drivers of insecurity on the continent, including through the promotion of good governance, constitutionalism, human rights, adherence to the rule of law and democracy;
  • Underscore the need for the promotion of the nexus between peace, security and socio-economic development, and the prevention of the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons into Africa, as well as addressing in a comprehensive manner, the devastating impact of climate change on livelihoods;

;

  • Highlight the need to clearly identify priority threats and capacity gaps for targeted responses underscored the need to explore ways to bolster collaboration between international funding partners and African Member States to effectively prevent and/or counter terrorists activities on the Continent;
  • Stress the importance of including non-traditional partners like the private sector, think tanks, and academic institutions, in identifying threats and co-designing initiatives;
  • Underscore the need international partners to respect the sovereignty of African States facing terrorism challenges and to respect international law, particularly the regional ownership, and the enhancement of cooperation in all their assistance to African Member States facing terrorism challenges;
  • Acknowledge the important efforts of the African Union Commission (AUC) in operationalizing the AU Peace Fund as the fund remain a critical instrument for addressing urgent peace and security challenges on the Continent; while commending contributions made by African Member States in this regard

 

  • Underscore the need for coordinated efforts in countering terrorism in Africa as well as the role of adequate, sustainable and predictable funding in combating all forms of insecurity on the African Continent, particularly terrorism and violent extremism on the continent and in this regards, acknowledge the adoption of Resolution 2719 (2023) by the United Nations Security Council on financing of African Union-led Peace Support Operations and emphasized that although it fell short of the 100% access to UN assessed contribution that Africa requested as a way of guaranteeing predictable, adequate and sustainable financing of AU peace and security activities, Resolution 2719 (2023) could contribute to the funding requirement for combating terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, in all its forms and manifestations;
  • Resolve to scale up efforts to combat transnational organized crime especially the deliberate proliferation of illicit arms in Africa, including through enhanced intelligence sharing mechanisms, border management, cooperation and control and we call on the United Nations system and Agencies to support the development/adoption of robust frameworks and legislative, as well as the enhancement of the operational capacities of African Member States confronted by the challenges of terrorism and violent extremism and to contribute towards the sharing of good practices for the effective elimination of the supply of weapons to non – state armed groups in Africa;
  • Stress the urgent need for the improved deployment of greater support and resources towards strengthening cybersecurity activities in Africa and taking concrete steps to prevent the use of social media and other platforms by terrorists;
  • Commend, in this regard, the UNOCT for reaffirming its commitment to integrating emerging technologies in the framework of its technical assistance to African Member States, helping them to prevent and counter cybersecurity related emerging threats in a human rights-compliant and gender-responsive manner, and leveraging the potential of these technologies to support counter-terrorism and violent extremism efforts across the continent;
  • Emphasise the need for closer collaboration among national stakeholders, civil society, regional and sub-regional organizations as well as international partners, in delivering assistance and strengthening support and protection of victims of terrorism,;
  • Stress the importance of strengthening the capacities of the African Union Commission (AUC) and its specialised agencies, as well as those of Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms to enhance the effectiveness of their respective Member States combating terrorism and violent extremism;
  • Urge the AUC to continue providing technical assistance to its Member States through its Continental Counter-Terrorism Early Warning System and w encourage Member States and Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) to improve their coordination, strengthen regional and continental efforts and regularly exchange experiences in their combater terrorism efforts;
  • Welcome the commitment of the UNOCT, in coordination with other partners, to strengthen the development and implementation of dedicated packages of capacity building programmes and other forms of targeted supports to African States in the priority areas of assistance identified during the Meeting;

 

We fully concure that the Abuja Process is an African-led and African-owned series of meetings aimed at strengthening regional and sub-regional cooperation to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism, strengthen coordination of counter-terrorism initiatives, share expertise, and mobilize resources for critical counter-terrorism programmes.

We thank the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, organisers of the High Level African Meeting on Counter Terrorism as well all Member States, international and regional organizations and civil society groups and international partners who participated in this event and contributed to the discussions.

Given that our objective is to make the process beneficial for all critical situations on the Continent, we decide that the dates and venue for the follow-up meetings of this Process will be made known in due course.

We request the African Union Peace and Security Council to consider and endorse this Declaration and to recommend same to the United Nations Security Council for appropriate action.

 

Adopted on this 23rd day of April, 2024 In Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria

10-Apr-2024 Naira appreciation calls for CBN to sustain Monetary Policies

Naira appreciation calls for CBN to sustain Monetary Policies

In recent times the Naira, Nigeria’s Legal Tender, appears to be getting stronger after an all-time low of N1,900 in exchange to the Dollar in February.

The Currency started its gradual appreciation in March, peaking at N1,230 at the Parallel Market in the first week of April.

Trouble had started for the Naira when President Bola Tinubu, shortly after assuming Office on May 29, announced his Administration’s decision to float the Currency.

Tinubu’s plan was contained in a comprehensive Monetary Policy Reforms meant to ensure a single Exchange Rate for Naira.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), afterwards, adopted a clean Float Foreign Exchange Management Policy and announced immediate changes to Operations in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange (FX) Market.

As part of its Policies to ensure Economic recovery, the CBN announced the unification of all Segments of the FX Market.

Previously, there were Foreign Exchange Rates for different purposes such as Medical Tourism and Studies, Pilgrimages, the Parallel Market and CBN among others.

The FX Market Liberalisation Policy saw the devaluation of the Naira as the “Willing Buyer, Willing Seller” Model was introduced.

The Apex Bank abolished the hitherto Multiple Exchange Rate windows and collapsed them into the Business-based Investors and Exporters (I&E) Window.

Afterwards, the Naira, which had exchanged at N400 to the Dollar at the CBN-controlled Official Window and N700 to the Dollar at the Parallel Market, went on a free fall, to over N1,000 to the Dollar in Decembere 2023.

The Policy also worsened Inflation in the Country, evidenced by sky-high Costs of Goods and Services.

Some Stakeholders believed that floating the Naira at that time, even with so much Dollar Illiquidity, was ill-advised.

Others urged the CBN to employ Monetary Policy Tools to stabilise and strengthen the Naira and to also tackle Inflation.

Okechukwu Unegbu, a past President of Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), urged the CBN to use its Monetary Policy tools to moderate the Exchange Rate and drive down Inflation.

“President Bola Tinubu already took some sensitive Policy Decisions, even before appointing the CBN Governor and the Finance Minister.

“Floating the Naira was a major error that has caused the Nation so much pain,” he said.

Bismarck Rewane, an Economist and Managing Director of Financial Derivatives, a Business Management Consultancy Firm, said that loose Monetary Conditions were totally different from tight Monetary Policy.

“You fight loose Monetary Conditions by tightening Monetary Policy.

“There will be an effect of that because Interest Rate will increase, People will save more and consume less, and the Currency will stabilise over time. There is no quick-fix,” he said

However, at the Meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in February, the first to be chaired by Yemi Cardoso as Governor, the Apex Bank adopted an aggressive tightening of the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 400 Basis Points, from 18.75 per cent to 22.75 per cent.

Cardoso said that on-going Reforms at CBN would check rising Inflation and address distortions in the Foreign Exchange Market.

He listed some of the Reforms to include the Unification of the Foreign Exchange Market and the promotion of a Willing Buyer Willing Seller Model.

Carfoso said that other Reforms were removal of all limits on margins for International Money Transfer Operators (IMTO) Remittances, introduction of a two-way Quote System, and the broad Reforms in the Bureau De Change (BDC) Segment of the Market.

After that Meeting, the Naira began its progressive movement upward, an indication that the it responded positively to the MPC decision to tighten the lending rate aggressively.

Shortly after, the CBN announced revocation of Operational Licences of 4,173 Bureaux De Change (BDCs) for failure to observe some Regulatory Provisions.

The Apex Bank stated that it was revising the Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines for BDC Operations in Nigeria, adding that compliance with the new requirements would be mandatory for all Stakeholders in the Sector.

Again, at its MPC Meeting in March, the CBN announced another aggressive Policy tightening, raising the MPR by another 200 Basis Points, from 22.75 per cent to 24.75.

Cardoso said that recent stability achieved in the Foreign Exchange Market were commendable and had started yielding results.

“The Committee noted with satisfaction the level of stability achieved in the Foreign Exchange Market in the last few weeks.

“This, in the view of Members, reflects the impact of the CBN’s recent Policy Actions and Reforms, as well as increased transparency in the Market.

“In addition, the Committee noted the efforts of the Apex Bank in offsetting verified Foreign Currency Obligations, an action that will greatly enhance Investor Confidence and attract Foreign Investments to Nigeria,” he said.

The President, Association of Bureau De Change of Nigeria (ABCON), Aminu Gwadabe, said that recent Monetary Policy Decisions of the CBN had made the Naira to gain value.

According to Gwadabe, the Dollar exchanging at between N1,300 and N1,900 was inorganic.

“I see the Naira maintaining its organic journey, which is N1,200 to the Dollar, ” he said.

He said that the CBN had taken a lot of measures to stabilise the Foreign Exchange Market by way of Treasury Bills that had attracted billions of Dollars, with the promise of almost $30bn coming in.

“The CBN has also fixed the Lending Rate to 24.75 per cent so as to reign in Inflation.

“The Apex Bank also raised the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of Banks to reduce Liquidity that is chasing after the Dollar,” he said during a recent interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Gwadabe said the most effective measure was the inclusion of Bureaux De Change (BDCs) into the Official Foreign Exchange Window.

He said that the Security Agencies were also tracing Unearned Incomes that were used to chase Foreign Currencies.

“There is a lot of progress in that regard. A lot of Information on how stolen money is being moved around is being gathered.

“And now, there is deterrent. People are watching keenly now to know whether to speculate. The trajectory is sustainable,” he said.

The CBN recently sold N676.65bn through the Open Market Operation, (OMO), at a 21 per cent Interest Rate to manage Money Supply.

Findings by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) revealed that the CBN has sold Treasury Bills worth over N1trn since the First Quarter of 2024.

This is a move to mop up Excess Cash Liquidity in the Economy in a bid to further strengthen the Naira and also to tame Inflation.

The Apex Bank is projected to spend around N1.01trn in Interest Rate to defend the Naira.

Primarily, the move targets the management of the Banking System’s Liquidity to prevent an oversupply of Naira, which could trigger Inflationary pressures.

Also, it aims to provide an avenue for the CBN to stabilise the Financial Market by offering competitive Returns to Investors, thus aligning the Country’s Monetary Policy with its Economic Objectives.

The CBN also announced that it had processed and cleared an inherited backlog of $7bn in Foreign Exchange Claims to Beneficiaries, a step that has improved Investors’ Confidence in the Nigerian Economy.

However, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) complained about the effect of high Interest Rate of CBN’s Treasury Bill.

The LCCI Director-General, Chinyere Almona, said that such high Interest Rate was drying up Funds from the Private Sector into Government’s Treasuries.

She urged the CBN to reconsider its decision on Interest Rate hike.

She said that the objectives of the Apex Bank to curb Inflation and stabilise the Exchange Rate were commendable.

She, however, said that there was a need for such objectives to be achieved without impeding Private Sector endeavours and Economic expansion.

As Naira continues to respond positively to various Monetary Policy measures by the CBN, Stakeholders are hoping that the Currency sustains its upwards trajectory.

Most Nigerians project, at least, a two-digit Exchange Rate against the Dollar and other strong Currencies in the not too distant future. 

 

Credit Kadiri Abdulrahman/NAN

30-Mar-2024 Fact Check: Has FG, NLC, TUC agreed on N155,000 Minimum Wage?

Fact Check: Has FG, NLC, TUC agreed on N155,000 Minimum Wage?

CLAIM: A post on X (formerly Twitter) by one Ayofe on March 26, claimed that the Federal Government has agreed on N155,000 Minimum Wage with the Nigeria Labour Union (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The X User said both the NLC and TUC Leaders had thanked all the Members involved in the Negotiations during a Press Conference.

“BREAKING NEWS”

The Federal Government has agreed on 155k as the new National Minimum Wage the NLC and TUC Chairmen respectively thanked all the Members involved in the Negotiations in a Press Conference and urged the Federal Government and State Governments to implement the Minimum Wage as earlier agreed on more details shortly…, claimed Ayofe in the Post.

As of March 28, more than 200,000 other Users have viewed the Post with 301 Retweets. Similarly, the Post has garnered 414 Comments with over 1000 Likes and 62 Bookmarks.

This Post has been generating mixed reactions from other X Users with many believing the story while others expressed doubt.

https://x.com/abdullahayofel/status/1772720739583443399?t=RqQqvD0djT2JPaESxkfiww&s=08

The same claim is also being circulated on WhatsApp and credited to the Punch Newspaper.

VERIFICATION: Checks by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reveals that an accord is yet to be reached amongst the 37-Man Tripartite Committee for the implementation of a new Minimum Wage.

The committee according to the release of the Federal Government comprised Representatives of the Federal and State Governments, Employers as well as the Labour.

More so, there has not been any Press Statement issued by any of the Parties involved in the Negotiations or a News Report from any credible News Platform on the purported Agreement.

Speaking with the Head of Information, NLC, Benson Upah, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he was not aware of such development.

Similarly, the Deputy President I, TUC, Tommy Okon, said the Social Media User, who posted the Claim was only being sensational.

Okon said as a Leader in the TUC, he was not aware of such an Agreement.

“Maybe they agree with their own Union (Social Media User), because for us, there is nothing like that.

“There is nothing like that at all. I am not surprised because Social Media (Users) can decide to write anything and send it because there is no censorship.

“It is garbage in, garbage out; they can put anything, but it is unfortunate that we are still spreading false Information.

“That is not true; it is mischievous. We have not even started negotiating with the Government on the Minimum Wage.

“Let them not mislead the Public,” said the TUC Deputy President.

Also when a search was conducted on the site of the newspaper, such Report was not found on the News Site.

VERDICT: The claim that the Federal Government has agreed on N155,000 as new Minimum Wage with the Leadership of the Organised Labour is FALSE. While a Tripartite Committee including the Representatives of the Governments, Labour and the Employers, has been inaugurated for Negotiations, no Agreement is yet to be reached. 

 

Credit NAN/Usman Aliyu: Texts excluding Headlines

01-Jan-2024 Tinubu: I have taken some difficult decisions to save Nigeria from catastrophe

Tinubu: I have taken some difficult decisions to save Nigeria from catastrophe

Dear Compatriots,
 
It gives me immense joy to welcome each and everyone of you – Young and Old- to this brand New Year 2024. We must lift up our hands to Almighty God, in gratitude, for his grace and benevolence to our Country and our Lives in the Year 2023 that has just gone by.
 
Though the past Year was a very challenging one, it was eventful in so many ways. For our Country, it was a Transition Year that saw a peaceful, orderly and successful Transfer of Power from one Administration to another, marking yet another remarkable step in our 24 years of unbroken Democracy.
 
It was a Year, you the gracious People of this blessed Nation, entrusted your faith in me with a clear Mandate to make our Country better, to revamp our Economy, restore Security within our borders, revitalise our floundering Industrial Sector, boost Agricultural Production, increase National Productivity and set our Country on an irreversible path towards National greatness that we and Future Generations will forever be proud of.
 
The task of building a better Nation and making sure we have a Nigerian Society that cares for all her Citizens is the reason I ran to become your President. It was the core of my Renewed Hope Campaign Message on the basis of which you voted me as President.
 
Everything I have done in Office, every decision I have taken and every trip I have undertaken outside the Shores of our Land, since I assumed Office on 29 May 2023, have been done in the best interest of our Country.
 
Over the past seven months of our Administration, I have taken some difficult and yet necessary decisions to save our Country from Fiscal catastrophe. One of those decisions was the removal of Fuel Subsidy which had become an unsustainable Financial burden on our Country for more than four Decades. Another was the removal of the chokehold of few People on our Foreign Exchange System that benefited only the Rich and the Most Powerful among us. Without doubt, these two decisions brought some discomfort to Individuals, Families and Businesses.
 
I am well aware that for some time now the conversations and debates have centred on the rising Cost of Living, high Inflation which is now above 28% and the unacceptable high Under-Employment Rate.
 
From the Boardrooms at Broad Street in Lagos to the Main-Streets of Kano and Nembe Creeks in Bayelsa, I hear the groans of Nigerians who work hard every day to provide for themselves and their Families.
 
I am not oblivious to the expressed and sometimes unexpressed frustrations of my Fellow Citizens. I know for a fact that some of our Compatriots are even asking if this is how our Administration wants to renew their hope.
 
Dear Compatriots, take this from me: the time may be rough and tough, however, our Spirit must remain unbowed because tough times never last. We are made for this period, never to flinch, never to falter. The Socio-Economic challenges of today should energise and rekindle our love and faith in the promise of Nigeria. Our current circumstances should make us resolve to work better for the good of our beloved Nation. Our situation should make us resolve that this New Year 2024, each and everyone of us will commit to be better Citizens.
 
Silently, we have worked to free Captives from Abductors. While we can’t beat our chest yet that we had solved all the Security problems, we are working hard to ensure that we all have peace of mind in our Homes, Places of Work and on the Roads.
 
Having laid the groundwork of our Economic recovery plans within the last seven months of 2023, we are now poised to accelerate the pace of our Service Delivery across Sectors.
 
Just this past December during COP28 in Dubai, the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and I agreed and committed to a new Deal to speed up the delivery of the Siemens Energy Power Project that will ultimately deliver reliable Supply of Electricity to our Homes and Businesses under the Presidential Power Initiative which began in 2018.
 
Other Power Installation Projects to strengthen the reliability of our Transmission Lines and optimise the integrity of our National Grid are ongoing across the Country.
 
My Administration recognises that no meaningful Economic transformation can happen without steady Electricity Supply. In 2024, we are moving a step further in our quest to restart Local refining of Petroleum Products with Port Harcourt Refinery, and the Dangote Refinery which shall fully come on stream.
 
To ensure constant Food Supply, Security and affordability, we will step up our plan to cultivate 500,000 Hectares of Farmlands across the Country to grow Maize, Rice, Wheat, Millet and other Staple Crops. We launched the Dry Season Farming with 120,000 Hectares of Land in Jigawa State last November under our National Wheat Development Programme.
 
In this New Year, we will race against time to ensure all the Fiscal and Tax Policies Reforms we need to put in place are codified and simplified to ensure the Business Environment does not destroy Value. On every Foreign Trip I have embarked on, my message to Investors and other Business People has been the same. Nigeria is ready and open for Business.
 
I will fight every obstacle that impedes Business Competitiveness in Nigeria and I will not hesitate to remove any clog hindering our path to making Nigeria a Destination of choice for Local and Foreign Investments.
 
In my 2024 Budget Presentation to the National Assembly, I listed my Administration’s 8 Priority Areas to include National Defence and Internal Security, Job Creation, Macro-Economic Stability, Investment Environment Optimisation, Human Capital Development, Poverty Reduction and Social Security. Because we take our Development Agenda very seriously, our 2024 Budget reflects the premium we placed on achieving our Governance Objectives.
 
We will work diligently to make sure every Nigerian feels the impact of Government. The Economic aspirations and the material well-being of the Poor, the most Vulnerable and the Working People shall not be neglected. It is in this spirit that we are going to implement a new National Living Wage for our Industrious Workers this New Year. It is not only good Economics to do this, it is also a morally and politically correct thing to do.
 
I took an Oath to serve this Country and give my best at all times. Like I said in the past, no excuse for poor performance from any of my Appointees will be good enough.
 
It is the reason I put in place a Policy Coordination, Evaluation, Monitoring and Delivery Unit in the Presidency to make sure that Governance output improves the Living Condition of our People.
 
We have set the Parameters for Evaluation. Within the First Quarter of this New Year, Ministers and Heads of Agencies with a future in this Administration that I lead will continue to show themselves.
 
Fellow Nigerians, my major ambition in Government as a Senator in the aborted Third Republic, as Governor of Lagos State for eight years and now as the President of this blessed Country is to build a Fair and Equitable Society and close the widening inequality. While I believe the Rich should enjoy their legitimately-earned Wealth, our minimum bargain must be that, any Nigerian that works hard and diligent enough will have a chance to get ahead in life. I must add that because God didn’t create us with equal Talents and Strengths, I can not guarantee that we will have equal outcomes when we work hard. But my Government, in this new year 2024 and beyond, will work to give every Nigerian equal opportunity to strive and to thrive.
 
For the New Year to yield all its good benefits to us as Individuals and collectively as a People we must be prepared to play our part. The Job of building a prosperous Nation is not the Job of the President, Governors, Ministers, Lawmakers and Government Officials alone. Our Destinies are connected as Members of this Household of Nigeria. Our Language, Creed, Ethnicity and Religious Beliefs even when they are not same should never make us work at cross purposes.
 
In this New Year, let us resolve that as Joint-Heirs to the Nigerian Commonwealth, we will work for the peace, progress and stability of our Country. I extend this call to my Political Opponents in the last Election. Election is over. It’s time for all of us to work together for the sake of our Country.
 
We must let the light each of us carries – Men and Women, Young and Old- shine bright and brighter to illuminate our path to a glorious dawn.
 
I wish all of us a happy and prosperous Year 2024.
 
May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
 
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR
1 January 2024
 
31-Dec-2023 Naira harsh ride: Can Government tame its volatility?

Naira harsh ride: Can Government tame its volatility?

By Lydia Ngwakwe
 
The depreciation of the Naira against major International Currencies has been a major concern for both Nigerians and the Government in 2023.
 
This volatility in the Naira has had a significant impact on the overall Economy and has put pressure on Foreign Reserves.
 
Having an unstable Currency like the Naira hampers Economic Planning, discourages Investment, and fuels Inflation, ultimately affecting Ordinary Nigerians.
 
Therefore, the pursuit of a stable Naira remains a top priority for the Government.
 
To address the issue of Naira instability, the Government has implemented various strategies through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
 
It came up with Fixed Exchange Rates and adopted a managed Floating Regime to strike a balance between stability and flexibility, aiming to free the Naira.
 
However, achieving a stable Exchange Rate is crucial, as it fosters confidence, encourages Trade, and attracts Foreign Investment, paving the way for Sustainable Economic Growth.
 
It is important for all Stakeholders to work together and address the underlying factors contributing to the Naira’s volatility to build a more resilient Economy.
 
President Bola Tinubu, while presenting the 2024 Budget to the National Assembly,  set the Exchange Rate between the Naira and the U.S. dollar at N750 to a Dollar.
 
 
Analysts said that to control the Naira unpredictable instability, concerted efforts were required from all Stakeholders to address the underlying factors contributing to its volatility and to build a more resilient Economy.
 
Reacting, the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Muda Yusuf, said that for any Government to truly control Naira unpredictable, a comprehensive step must be taken to address the issue.
 
Yusuf acknowledged that the CBN was currently implementing a new Market-based approach in managing the Foreign Exchange Market, which is perceived as more efficient and transparent.
 
He said that this had led to a weaker Naira Currency but noted that the situation could improve over time.
 
According to Yusuf, the success of this new approach will rely on its ability to attract Foreign Investment, promote Economic Growth, and effectively manage Inflation.
 
He, however, said that the Government decision to officially adopt a new Exchange Rate of N750 per Dollar for 2024 could have positive and negative consequences for the Economy.
 
According to him, the current Exchange Rate is more realistic and reflects the true Value of the Currency, as well as Government efforts to eliminate Foreign Exchange Subsidies.
 
The Economist said that the development had resulted in increased Government Revenue, as the conversion of Dollar Earnings at N750 is more favourable compared to the previous Rates.
 
He explained that the major advantage of the new Exchange Rate is its positive impact on Government Revenue.
 
“Unlike what was used before, the current Exchange Rate, as it is used, is more realistic and reflects the Market situation-the true Value of the Currency of the Exchange Rate.
 
“More importantly, the attempt to eliminate the Foreign Exchange Subsidy that has existed before has helped to increase Government Revenue.
 
“So, these are some of the major advantages that this new Exchange Rate will bring to the Economy and the Government; there will be major Revenue advantages.
 
“Can you imagine when we were converting our Dollar Earnings at N450? You can imagine what it was under the previous Government compared to the Dollar Earnings at N750 to a Dollar.
 
“You can see that the Revenue implication is huge. So, there’s a major Revenue advantage,’’ he said.
 
He noted that challenges encountered during previous attempts to manage the Exchange Rate include corruption and a large difference between the Official Rate and the Parallel Market Rate.
 
According to him, such discrepancies create Incentives for Round-Tripping and hinder Economic stability.
 
“The premium between the Official Rate and the Parallel Market Rate was very high; getting close to almost 100 per cent. You can’t run an Economy that way such that you now create Incentives for People to now be round tripping.
 
“So, there’s a major problem of corruption and Round-Tripping that the previous Foreign Exchange Regime created.
 
"Secondly, it lacked transparency because we didn’t know who was getting what and what the criteria for the Allocation was. This eroded Public Trust and confidence in the Financial System, among others.’’
 
Ndubisi Nwokoma, Professor of Financial Economics and Director of the Centre for Economic Policy Analysis and Research (CEPAR), University of Lagos, stated that adopting a particular Exchange Rate for the Country at any time, Fiscal Policy was easy to do.
 
“But the question is, can the Government fund the Foreign Exchange Market to sustain the Rate? That is the million Dollar question.
 
“The sustainability of N750 to a Dollar Exchange Rate will depend on the efficient management of both the Supply and Demand Forces in the Market.
 
“Currently the Investor and Exporters Rate is in the Region of N880 to the Dollar and bringing it down to N750 will require some great effort by Government to beef up supply through Remittances, Export Proceeds and other Foreign Capital Inflows,’’ he said.
 
Nwokoma said at present, Foreign Capital Inflows to Nigeria are largely not good enough, noting that there is also the demand management dimension which according to him, work needs to be done in these areas.
 
 
Credit Lydia Ngwakwe/NAN
05-Dec-2023 Will Aviation Sector shake off turbulent 2023, fly higher in 2024?

Will Aviation Sector shake off turbulent 2023, fly higher in 2024?

As 2023 draws to an end, it is gladdening that there was no Civilian Plane Crash recorded. This is noteworthy for a Country that used to with witness such mishaps at intervals.

In the Aviation Sector, safety is the ultimate.

In spite of the success story, some other challenges persist. Experts and Airport Users say the state of Infrastructure at the Airports need to improve.

In 2023 many Airlines groaned under high Operational Costs which have stifled their expansion.

Flight delays and or cancellations, poor Customer Care, epileptic Cooling System, and Conveyor Belt Issues, Poor Funding, and Insecurity are among other challenges experienced in the Sector.

Some of these challenges pose a major threat to the smooth Operations of the Airports and hinder them from handling certain Services.

Recently, Musa Nuhu, the Director-General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that many Airports cannot handle Night Flights because of some of the highlighted challenges.

“All manners of security risks including kidnapping, robbery and others are evolving rapidly in many parts of the Country.

“The evolving security challenges make Night Operations dangerous because many Airports, by reason of Construction and Operational requirements are located mostly on the outskirts of Towns’’, he told NAN.

Some Stakeholders argue that Aviation should not be seen as a mere Sector but as a Business Model capable of generating Revenue for those operating in it.

They say that it must be made competitive with the required Infrastructure on ground to make the Business thrive.

An Aviation Expert, Olumide Ohunayo, said Nigeria has the highest number of Domestic Airlines in Africa, not by number of Aircraft but by Registered Operators.

“In the number of Equipment, we are behind; we have the highest Attrition Rate. We have crossed the ICAO Registration Process, our Airlines are IOSA Certified.

“We have the highest Attrition Rates, as our Airlines are not viable out there. Those operating are yet to obtain profit margin. We have been absent on the International Routes despite numerous BASA in place.

“We have increased the number of Airports in the Country over the years, although most of them are under used because of the limitation of Sunset Airport Policies which has reduced usage“, the Vanguard quoted him as saying.

BASA is an Air Transport Agreement between two Countries that allows Designated Airlines to operate Commercial Flight, covering Transportation of Passengers and Cargoes.

To achieve that objective, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Buhari Abdulatif, says it is important for the Federal Government to improve Aviation Business Environment to make it attractive to Foreign and Local Investors.

Abdulatif, told a Retreat organised by the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development recently at Warri, Delta State that Government should address the issue of high Cost of Aviation Fuel and other Operation Logistics.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, said the Government is conscious of the need to upgrade the Sector to make it the Hub of Air Travel in Africa.

According to him, the Aviation Industry is a main key for Sustainable Growth and Development of all other Sectors in the Nigerian Economy.

He said the Federal Government was ready to intensify efforts through Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) to tackle the challenges militating against the Industry.

Keyamo said his priority Agenda would be fine-tuned into Actionable Programme and projects by all Department and Agencies under the Ministry.

“These Agenda are: to ensure strict compliance with Safety Regulations and continuous upward movement of Nigeria’s Rating by the ICAO.

“Others are support for the growth and sustenance of Local Airline Businesses whilst holding them to the highest International Standards in the Aviation Industry, and improvement of Infrastructure in the Aviation Industry.

“It also includes the development of Human Capacity within the Industry and optimising Revenue Generation for the Federal Government, “ recent Media Reports quoted him as saying.

In the coming years, Stakeholders in the Industry expect the Federal Government to also leverage International Agreements and Instruments to stimulate growth in the Nation’s Aviation Industry.

“Government must direct the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to monitor closely the Foreign Exchange Earnings on Commercial Aviation including the Earnings on Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA)“ says John Ojukitu, Secretary General of Aviation Round Table, in a Media Interview.

Some Operators in the Sector canvass the review of BASA to enable Government identify Areas that need improvement and renegotiate such Terms.

“Currently, the Multiple Entry Points and Frequencies of Foreign Airlines are commercially disadvantageous to Nigerian Airlines and do not achieve fair reciprocity“, says Nick Fadugba, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), African Aviation Services.

Fadugba who is also the Chairman of the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) said this during a Webinar.

As 2024 approaches, Stakeholders expect that the challenges of the past years including underutilisation of Airports, dearth of Professionals, Financial Instability leading to bankruptcy of Airlines would be addressed.

Doing these will enable the Sector fly at the right altitude.


Credit NAN/Gabriel Agbeja














23-Oct-2023 Can INEC deliver hitch-free Polls in Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi?

Can INEC deliver hitch-free Polls in Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi?

On November11 Residents of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi will return to the Poll to elect new Governors that will run the Affairs of the States for the next four years in an off Election Circle Exercise.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to conduct the Elections in 10, 510 Polling Units spread across the three States.

In Bayelsa, the Election will take place in 2,244 Polling Units, while it will hold in 3,508 Polling Units in Kogi. Imo has 4, 758 Polling Units where the Election will hold.

INEC has targeted about 5.4 million Voters for the Elections, with Bayelsa having 1.05 million Voters; while 2.4 million Voters are expected in Imo. Kogi has about two million Voters.

INEC has been engaged in series of activities in the past few months toward ensuring the successful conduct of the Elections.

However, some Stakeholders have expressed concerns over the ability of the Electoral Umpire to conduct hitch-free Elections in these States, going by the experiences of the 2023 General Polls.

Although the Umpire insists that it did a good job in the Polls, many Nigerians, particularly those on the Opposition side think otherwise.

They cite the some logistics challenges, especially late arrival of Election Materials and Election Officials in Polling Units as examples of areas that need improvement.

There is also the reoccurring problem of malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) in Polling Units, leading to delay in the accreditation of Voters and voting.

In some Polling Units, voting was delayed for many hours, as Voters remain on queues to perform their Civic Rights of electing their Leaders.

Although INEC has reassured of its resolve to address the challenges, Stakeholders say the Commission must buckle up, if it wants to conduct hitch-free, free, fair and credible Elections.

Yabagi Sani, the National Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) tasked INEC to strengthen its capacities to ensure hitch-free Elections in the three States.

He expressed optimism that INEC would strive to rebuild trust between itself, Political Parties and the Electorate by ensuring hitch-free Polls.

“We in IPAC believe that INEC has learned some lessons and they know that there is a huge deficit of trust between the Commission and Nigerians.

“This happened because INEC was over ambitious and wanted things to work very well during the Presidential Election, but underlined conditions did not allow them to achieve the high standards they set for themselves.

“So INEC will have to go back to its drawing board and take a look at things that went wrong and correct them.

“And this doesn’t mean that they should throw away their Technological Advancements because they served their purpose and there is nothing wrong with the use of Technology,” he said.

Sani said that the use of Technology was not the problem of INEC in the conduct of the 2023 General Elections but the conducts of its Officials, Political Parties and their Agents, as well as the conduct of Nigerians.

He advised the Commission to improve on its Technology usage in order to set a better standard for Nigeria in the Global scene as the largest and strongest Democratic Country in Africa.

‘’INEC must show a good example in the November11 Off-Cycle Governorship Elections, it should show that we have Technology and we can use them perfectly,’’ he said.

Sani said that all hands must be on deck to ensure that Electoral Officers are not pressured by Governors to falsify results in the Elections.

“As we approach the Off- Cycle Elections in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi States in November, all hands must be on deck to ensure the Resident Electoral Commissioners and Returning Officers are not pressured by some Governors and INEC itself to falsify results in their States.

“The Adamawa State 2023 Governorship Election result declaration saga and the embarrassment caused INEC and the Nation at large is a case in point.

“The prosecution of the Adamawa REC in Court by INEC is highly desirable and commendable.

“Equally desirable is action by all relevant Security Agencies to check the misuse of State Resources in violation of the Electoral Act 2022,” he said.

Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive Officer, Connected Development (CODE), a Civil Society Organisation, corroborated Sani’s claim, urging INEC to improve on its logistics management, ahead of the November Elections.

Lawal, also the Founder, Follow the Money, said that INEC must strive hard to close the logistics gaps observed in the 2023 General Elections to achieve a successful Off-Cycle Elections.

“If we in CODE are saddled with the responsibility of undertaking Electoral Management, first, we will invest heavily in Logistics, which is one impediment.

“The second is Human Capital Development and training of Ad Hoc Staff in time, not a few weeks to Elections, this is because these are two major gaps we faced in the last Elections.

“This is an Off Circle Election so there should be no pressure on the Commission,” he said.

Emmanuel Njoku, the Director, Democracy and Governance, CODE, said there is a need for INEC to seek for more Electoral Reforms to tackle some issues in organising Elections in Nigeria.

Bayo Balogun, a Member of the Yiaga Africa Observer Mission at the just concluded Liberia’s Election, urged INEC to take lessons from the smooth conduct of the Election, toward improving on the November11 Off-Cycle Elections.

Balogun, is also the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters.

He said that INEC needs to change the Format of its Ballot Papers to include Photographs and Names of Candidates to improve the quality of Electoral Preferences and reduce Invalidated Votes.

“We also noticed that the Liberian National Elections Commission (NEC) displayed high devotion to Rules and Procedures throughout the Elections.

“Polling Officials displayed excellent knowledge of the Rules and enforced the Guidelines at all Election levels,” he said.

Balogun also urged National Assembly to strengthen the Electoral Laws by making Electronic Transmission of Results mandatory in future Elections in Nigeria.

He said this should include the upload of Polling Unit-Level Results and Results Sheets at different levels of Results Collation.

Balogun urged Political Stakeholders in Nigeria to demonstrate firm commitment to Democracy and Nation-Building by upholding National Values such as Patriotism, Integrity and Public Interest in Electoral Politics.

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, acknowledged some challenges in the conduct of the last Elections as the Commission is working hard to ensure that the Elections are free, fair and credible.

“We are giving our words to Nigerians that we must open Polling Units at 8.30a.m on the dot on the Election Day.

“Therefore, Registration Area Centres (RACs) must be activated for commencement of Voting at 8.30a.m.,” Yakubu said at the Kogi Local Government (LGA) Office of the Commission during INEC Mock Accreditation for the Election in Lokoja on October14.

He said one of the main concerns of the Commission is the prevailing security challenge in the Country.

Yakubu said that the Commission is working with the Security Agencies to provide Secured Environment for peaceful and credible Elections.

“Wherever you go in Nigeria, you are sure to see two Government Offices. One is INEC. You will see an INEC Office in the LGA headed by an Electoral Officer, an Electoral Officer (EO).

You will also see the Police Office headed by a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for the Local Government.

“So, we are everywhere working together. And I’m happy that we are working together as we prepare for the Elections,“ he said.

Yakubu said that INEC plans to deploy 46,084 Officials comprising of both Permanent and Ad Hoc Staff for the conduct of the Elections in the three States.

“While we are leaving no stone un-turned in other areas of preparation for the Governorship Elections, the Commission plans to deploy 46,084 Regular and Ad Hoc Staff for Exercise.

“We are also finalising arrangements for Vehicles and Boats for Land and Maritime movement of Personnel and Materials,” he said.

Yakubu said that such massive deployment requires a Secured Environment which he said was beyond the Commission’s immediate responsibility.

“On our part, we will continue to deepen our engagement with the Security Agencies and more Meetings are planned in the next few days.

“Similarly, the Commission will hold series of Meetings with Stakeholders at the National Level in addition to ongoing engagements at the State Levels,” he said.

The INEC Chairman expressed confidence that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) would perform better in the November11 Elections.

“Last week, we conducted a Mock Accreditation involving Actual Voters in Designated Polling Units in the three States; we had two objectives for the Exercise.

“Firstly is to test the efficacy of the BVAS for Biometric Authentication of Voters; secondly, to upload the Result to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV). Both Tests were successful.

“We look forward to improved performance of the BVAS in Voter Accreditation and Result uploading in the forthcoming Elections,” he said.

Yakubu said that all Non-Sensitive Materials for the Elections had been delivered to the three States, so far.

He said that the Elections would involve 5,409,438 Registered Voters in 10,510 Polling Units spread across 649 Electoral Wards in 56 Local Government Areas (LGAs).

He said that other preparatory activities, including Training, were on course, while valuable lessons learnt from the 2023 General Elections would be used to improve performance of the November11 Elections.

As preparations for the Elections hit top gears it is important that all INEC Personnel, Stakeholders and Politicians in the affected States cooperate with INEC to ensure hitch-free Polls. Failure should not be an option. 

Credit:  Ali Baba-Inuwa/NAN