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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Jonathan hits back at Buhari ;;click link for more update

President Goodluck Jonathan hits back at General Muhammadu Buhari over his statement today, titled “Pull Nigeria Back From the Brink”, which contains allegations leveled against the Jonathan led administration on a  brutal crackdown of the opposition party .
Read the full statement
President Goodluck Jonathan and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd)
President Goodluck Jonathan and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd)
We have noted with much surprise and regret, the statement issued by General Muhammadu Buhari today in which he made some wild and totally unsustainable allegations against President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Although he tries very hard to deny it in the statement titled “Pull Nigeria Back From the Brink”, there can be no doubt that General Buhari has sadly moved away from the patriotic and statesmanlike position he recently adopted on national security, which President Jonathan publicly commended, and has now reverted to unbridled political partisanship.
There can be no other explanation or justification for the completely unwarranted and very uncharitable assault on the conduct and integrity of President Jonathan which the statement he issued today represents.
General Buhari’s main grouse which clearly motivated his ill-considered statement appears to be what he called “the gale of impeachments or the utilisation of desperate tactics to suffocate the opposition and turn Nigeria into a one-party state”.
It is most unfortunate that instead of working to put their house in order and resolve the leadership crises and internal contradictions that have plunged their party into a downward spiral, General Buhari and his opposition allies have resorted to blaming a blameless President for their woes.
The processes for impeaching an elected Governor are clearly stipulated in the National Constitution which Nigeria has operated since 1999. The President of Nigeria is not assigned any role in that process and President Jonathan has certainly not played any role in the recent impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa or in the impeachment drama currently being played out in Nasarawa State.
For the record, President remains fully committed to upholding the letters, principles and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution as he has sworn, and defending the rule of law and integrity of the democratic process with all his might.
General Buhari talks about anarchy. He needs to be reminded that President Jonathan from his humble beginnings as a Deputy Governor in Bayelsa state to date, has never in his acts, or utterances, recommended or promoted violence as a tool of political negotiation.
Contrary to whatever General Buhari and his new friends may imagine, President Jonathan fully respects the rights, powers, authority and independence of elected representatives of the people, including the members of the state assemblies who have concluded or initiated impeachment proceedings against their state governors on grounds which they consider justifiable.
The constitution does not give the President any power to intervene in such proceedings and President Jonathan has never  arrogated such powers to himself  or sought to exert any nefarious and unconstitutional influence on state assemblies in Adamawa, Nasarawa or anywhere else in other to secure undue political advantage for his party as General Buhari unjustifiably alleges.
President Jonathan remains true to his declaration that no political ambition of his is worth the life of a single Nigerian. The President has definitely not declared war on his own country or deployed federal institutions in the service of partisan interests as General Buhari falsely claims. Neither has he been using the common wealth to subvert the system and punish the opposition, as the former Head of State inexcusably asserts.
Also, President Jonathan has never at any time ordered that any Nigerian should be kidnapped or that anyone should be crated and forcefully transported in violation of decent norms of governance.
We therefore urge General Buhari to tarry a while, ponder over his own antecedents and do a reality check as to whether he has the moral right to be so carelessly sanctimonious.
It may well be time to pull the brakes, as General Buhari says in his statement, but it is he and others who have resorted to idle scapegoating and blaming President Jonathan for their self-inflected political troubles who need to stop their inexcusable partisanship and show greater regard for the truth, democracy, constitutionalism, the rule of law, peace, security and the well-being of the nation.

/charlie-boy-rallies-support-for-ailing-musician-majek-fashek/ click link for more

Music maverick, Charlie Boy, on Tuesday solicited the support of well meaning Nigerians for the rehabilitation of ailing musician, Majek Fashek, popularly known as the ‘Rain Maker’. Charlie Boy, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja said that Majek Fashek, was an iconic artiste who should not be left in his present condition. “The worst thing we can do is stand and watch when we see someone struggling in agony, especially when their pain is self inflicted. “It is no longer news that the rain maker is a sorry shadow of himself plagued by issues larger than his self discipline.
Charlie Boy
Charlie Boy
“Majek Fashek is our own; let’s see how we can heal our rain maker who needs all the love and understanding he can get right now. “I know quite a few well meaning Nigerians have contributed to his rehabilitation, but I still encourage others to help see the healing of this great musician become a reality.
“It is our collective effort to help rehabilitate him as a social responsibility of fighting this hard drug menace that is wasting so many of our youths,” he said. Charlie Boy told pressmen that he decided to drum support for the ailing artiste because he once worked with him and he was such a huge talent that should not be abandoned.

“I remember this very handsome man with a good heart and we had worked together a long time ago at the start of his beautiful but truncated music career. “He is a multi- talented artiste of international repute, whose hit rendition `Send down the Rain’ still does exactly that anytime it is played- sending the shivers down our spines.
“It used to be my favorite song from his album, and till today, I can sing his lyrics many years after. “He brewed that song right in my studio in Oguta, in the seven months he spent with me there as an in-house producer.

“He was so promising, so full of dreams that it breaks my heart to see him so degenerated and entirely disconnected today,” he lamented. Charlie Boy said that empathy would help someone better understand the present condition of the ‘rain maker’. “Looking at him now, I say to myself, it could have been me or any of us. “Some people are not so lucky to imbibe self discipline for things that are destructive to them, however, that doesn’t necessarily make those of us better human beings for being able to.

“I know it can be a huge heartache watching someone you love struggle with an addiction or have a mental illness but the good news is that it is curable. “When we show more love as parents, friends, associates, spouses, brothers or sisters, we help the people going through this struggle feel good about themselves,” he said.

mtv-africa-beyonce-chris-brown-nicki-minaj-others-emerge-best-international-act-nominees/ click link for more

MTV Base has revealed that BeyoncĂ©, Big Sean, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna have been nominated for Best International Act at the MTV Africa Music Awards KwaZulu-Natal 2015.

Beyonce posing with her grammy
Beyonce posing with her grammy
The urban giants will go head to head at MAMA 2015, which is sponsored by KwaZulu-Natal in association with Absolut Vodka and in partnership with The City of Durban.  The winner, chosen by music fans voting online at, will be revealed at the live awards ceremony on Saturday 18 July at the Durban International Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

First introduced in 2010, the Best International Act award has been previously won by Pharrell Williams (2014) and Eminem (2010).  Best International Act is the sole category that recognises the contribution of international artists at theMAMA; the remaining 17 awards categories are all awarded to African artists.

The MTV Africa Music Awards 2015 will broadcast live across Africa on MTV Base (DStv channel 322), MTV (DStv channel 130) and BET (DStv channel 129) on Saturday July 18, 2015 at 9:00PM. The show will also be transmitted worldwide on partner stations and content platforms including BET International from 18 July. In addition, a special MAMA-themed edition of MTV’s acclaimed World Stage franchise will air globally on MTV channels around the world on 27 August 2015.

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Rapists on rampage: Shocking stories of how minors have become endangered (2) - click link to See more

If recent reports are anything to go by, these are indeed strange times, especially in a country where there is an upsurge in girl-children being abused and robbed of their innocence by randy men who have become specialists in taking advantage of them and traumatising them in the process.
Last week, Vanguard Features, VF, began a report of the pathetic stories of several minors in Plateau State who were raped and left with emotional wrecks by some unrepentant rapists. The stories are as shocking as they are confounding as the reader is left wondering the kind of base instinct that could move a full grown man to have forceful carnal knowledge of a child as young as four or three years. But while the focus of last week’s report was Plateau State, it has since emerged that rape of minors or under-aged girls is actually on the increase across Nigeria, even approaching alarming proportion.
By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos
AS you approach her, she  averts eye contact, preferring to look at the ground; call her name, she nods her head without saying a word. She is equally not forthcoming when you try to engage her in a conversation. Yet this is a girl who was said to be outgoing and playful before her most recent traumatic experience.
But after much prodding by Vanguard Features, VF, 13-year-old Sadia (not real name) and a primary five pupil of a private school in Jos, the Plateau State capital, was able to tell her story, albeit amidst tears.
Residents in shock
A middle aged man was caught defiling her at about 7am on the fateful day of October 12, 2014. It was an ugly incident that has since turned her life upside down and left residents in the neighbourhood reeling in shock.
She said it was not the first time the man raped her, adding that she had before this time allowed him to have his way because he gave her money to meet her urgent need, which is food. So their being caught in the act, booed and sniggered at by a curious crowd of residents, was a “shame too much” for her bear.
Narrating her ordeal, she said: “Papa Emeka always sent me to buy things for him and he would leave the change with me. One day, he asked me if I had started seeing my menses and I asked him what that means, but he said I should forget it. Another day, he called and told me to enter his room and clean it. As I entered, he came in, pushed me on the bed and held my mouth. I was scared but he was pleading with me not to shout that he wants me to start seeing my menses.
“As he was trying to rape me, I bit him and he left me alone. Because he locked the door, I could not go out, so he started begging me not to tell anyone and he gave me N500. I did not tell anyone because I was confused and I was scared of telling my stepmother because she would beat me.
“After many weeks, he asked me to buy a bottle of soft drink for him. When I went in to give him the drink, he poured it inside a cup for me. After drinking it, I started feeling tired and had to lie on the floor. I did not know what happened thereafter, but when I woke up, he said I should go before my stepmother would start looking for me. I was feeling pains and did not know anything but I could not tell anyone.”
Sadia added: “About five days later, he called me, put me on his leg and started touching my body. He asked me if I told anyone that I slept in his house, and I said no. Though I was scared, I could not tell anyone because immediately he finished, he gave me N500 and said I should go home and have my bath. Since I did not eat, I used the money and bought food at the roadside.”
However, luck ran out on the randy man on the third day (October 12, 2014) when he called the girl at about 6.30am not knowing that the stepmother was yet to leave the house and suspicious neighbours took note when the girl entered his apartment.
While the stepmother was looking for the girl, a neighbour knocked at the randy man’s door, opened it and caught him in the act. She drew the attention of others but before the culprit could be apprehended, he escaped through the back door and the poor girl had to face the shame of neighbours openly reprimanding her.
Ever since the incident, she keeps to herself, plays with no one and endures the trauma of daily scolding from her stepmother. She confessed she felt like dying as she knows people are yet to forget the incident and are talking behind her back.

Long list of girls raped, traumatised
 But unknown to Sadia, she is one in a long list of young girls who have been raped in recent time. On September 13, 2014, in Mangu Local Government Area, another minor, eight years old Nankling (not real name), a primary two pupil, was defiled by a teenager at Mangu Halle. On the same day, a 10- year-old girl in Mararaba Pushit was raped by a married man who has two children. At Jakatai, a nine- year-old was raped on September 22, 2014 by a 38-year-old father of four.
Telling the story to VF, the mother of the eight-year-old victim, Mama Nankling, said she is yet to overcome the trauma of having her daughter being defiled in that manner. She added she never imagined the neighbour could be so wicked to do such to her baby.
According to her: “He always came around here to play with my children. One day, he took this girl to one uncompleted building in our area and started sleeping with her. I did not see my daughter around so I thought she was playing in the neighbourhood, but she came home, limping and crying. When I asked what happened, she told me what Aminu did to her. When we got to his house and he confirmed he did it, we got him arrested. He is there with the Police and they had charged him to court. No matter the result of the judgement, I will still be sad that this happened to me and I feel guilty that I did not do enough to keep my child from harm’s way.”
At Kwata, Zawan in Jos South Local Government Area, a 17-year-old girl was on July 7, 2014 raped by a neighbour who also threatened to kill her if she told anyone. There was also another case at Barkin Ladi where a security personnel attached to the Special Task Force, STF, raped a four-year-old girl in the neighbourhood. Though the randy Mobile policeman had been dismissed by the Police authorities and charged to court, the parents of the girl still lament the situation.

Relationship with victims
Within three weeks in November 2014, three different incidences occurred at Corner Shagari area of Jos North. First, a teenage girl was raped by six men and then at Tudun Wada in the same local government, a three-year old was raped by a middle aged man. At Bukuru in Jos South, a five year old girl was raped by a man in his 30s.
The case is not different in other areas like Kanam and Qua’an Pan where VF investigations reveal that rape of minor is on the increase across the religious divides in the local government areas. It was also established that most of the assailants had some form of relationship with the victims and this, most times, hinders the cases from being reported.
Curiously, there have also been cases involving fathers and their biological daughters, stepfathers with stepdaughters, uncles with nieces, ‘trusted’ neighbours taking advantage of innocent girls and some security personnel philandering with young girls in their areas of operations as well as male teachers and their female students.
Beside the accompanying trauma, some of the victims have also in the process been infected with sexually transmitted diseases; some are left with unwanted pregnancies which result in their dropping out of schools.
Many parents and guardians attribute the rise to poverty, ignorance, influence of drugs, rituals, inadequate punishments for assailants, drunkenness, lack of care and excessive intake of traditional medicine. Some believe that if you have HIV and you sleep with a girl who is a virgin, you will be cured.
Authorities confirmed that though many of the cases are not always reported due to several reasons, an average of 10 cases had been recorded in a month in the past six months. They assured that effort has been intensified to sensitize the people to know that rape of whatever kind is a crime against the state and must be reported.

Why rate of rape of minors is high, alarming
The failure of the state in getting justice for the victims usually embolden prospective rapists to engage in this act knowing the chances of paying for their crime is minimal.
It is against this backdrop that many have come to raise alarm and condemn the rise in rape incidents in the State. Among them are the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Sarah Yusuf, the State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Emmanuel Abuh, the Plateau State Vice-Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Ibrahim Chindo, the Chief Imam of Jos Central Mosque, Sheikh Balarabe Daud, a gynaecologist with the Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH, Prof. Olufunmilayo Para-Mallam who had researched extensively on gender-based violence as well as the Long Kwa, Miskagam Ignatius Didel. They have also agreed that it was high time that perpetrators were severely punished for the crime.
Mrs. Yusuf told VF: “The rape of minor is really high. The rate of reported cases of rape of minors in the State in recent months is alarming. We never really had this problem in the past; this is a new phenomenon and it is becoming a problem for us. We have received so many cases of rape of minor in the State.”
Blame lawyers, judges–Police
But in response to this,   a policeman who did not want to be named said: “Let me tell you the truth, Police is frustrated with the issue of rape because people don’t even like to report it; when they do, a lawyer will come and say this and that. The lawyers will defend obvious suspected rapists and through superior arguments the judge will set them free.
“The judiciary should assist when such cases are charged to court; they should do what is expected and leave the rapists behind bars. Apart from that, parents of the children will tell us to drop the case even when a rape case is established.”
Rape, sin against God; deserves death penalty–Religious leaders
Speaking on the issue, the State Vice-Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Ibrahim Chindo said: “To the best of my knowledge, such crime has not been reported to us. Rape is sin against God and a crime against humanity. Anyone caught in the act should be prosecuted and no sane person should condone that.”
Similarly, the Chief Imam of Jos Central Mosque, Sheikh Balarabe Daud said rape is a very serious crime in Islam, which could attract death penalty if confirmed that such occurred. He warned parents to be on the watch to prevent their children from falling victim to rapists.
For Para-Mallam, a Professor of Gender and Development Studies and the Coordinator of Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigerian Society, CWEENS: “From what we in CWEENS have observed, I must confess there is a shocking increase in the incidents and prevalence in violence against women and girls, most specifically against minors. In time past, many people used to say that women get raped because of the way they dress, they get raped because they go out late at night. Too often, people blame the victims for being raped.
“If a woman claims to be raped, they ask her what did you do, what were you wearing? But now, it is increasingly coming to the fore that little girls, girl children as young as 10 months old, 11 months old, 15 months old, two years, three years, four years are being raped.
“I tell you that one of the problems contributing to this is the high level of societal tolerance for violence against girls and women in general.
“Not only is there a high level of societal tolerance, there is also a situation whereby when girls and women experience rape, there is no adequate system in place to give them redress; so there is a very serious level of impunity where men know that they can do it and get away with it. There is a kind of nonchalant attitude by the society.

Raped by her father, disowned by family
“For instance, one of the ladies that came to us was raped by her own biological father not once but twice. When she dared to voice out what her father had done to her, her parents and the entire family turned against her and she became an outcast in her own home; in her family.
“She had to leave and so suffered a double jeopardy. Not only had she been abused and violated, she faced the injustice of victimization because she dared speak out. People are forced to keep silent.
“Another situation that came to our attention, all of them happening in Plateau State, a family living in a compound setting with another family and both of them are relatively poor, especially the family of the victim. Unknown to them, one of the men in the compound had called their daughter, a minor of 14 years, and began to entice her with money and sleeping with her.
“This girl got pregnant, he took her and aborted the pregnancy, the parents got to know but he begged and gave them some money, and it ended as a hush-hush affair. The second time it happened, the girl got pregnant again, he took her for abortion and it developed serious complications. An NGO was called in and they came to us to look into the situation they were dealing with.
“What we have found out and like the Commissioner of Police had told us, there is a large level of complicity where families themselves fail to protect the girl-child and when the girl-child is even abused, they fail to ensure that she is given trauma care, counselling, justice through the apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators. In many instances, these girls have to continue living with the perpetrators either in the same home or same compound.
“The tragedy of the situation is that where girls are supposed to be the safest, that is where they are being violated: by stepfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, and cousins, even friends of families. It is a very serious problem.”

Conflict as a factor
Giving reasons for the increase, she added: “There are several reasons like violence in society. One of the after-effects of a society that has experienced conflict is the increase in violence against women and girls. During conflict situations, women often experience rape and other forms of sexual violence such as forced prostitution, sexual slavery, and forced marriage as we see with the Chibok girl, etc.
“During conflict situations, girls face this problem from security agents posted to communities to keep the peace and they end up stealing the peace of women and girls in this very insidious and horrible way. We also have an increasing culture of violence. Though I am not justifying rape but very often men are not taught how to handle anger and frustration so they turn it on the vulnerable and the weak.
“Another explanation is that in a patriarchal culture such as ours, too often, the rights of women are trampled upon; women and girls are not protected at all. In fact, they are totally denied. Men are brought up to feel that ‘I am the boss, I am in charge, I can command and control and have whatever woman I desire’. In such culture, women are often seen as sex objects; not only when a girl or woman is dressed half-naked, but women are objectified and seen as good for her reproductive capacity and sexual allure.
“Overwhelmingly, our culture is very derogatory and condescending, very discriminatory, very belittling of girls and women. This culture of looking down on the woman and objectifying her as a sex object contributes.
The poverty question
“Another reason which is so obvious is poverty. We have seen some cases where parents are induced to keep quiet because they were given financial incentives. They were told, ‘Okay, I am going to give you this money, don’t tell of what I did’ and many of the parents being poor will say, well let us take this money and see how we can help our daughter. A lot of girls also make themselves vulnerable for men to exploit them because they are looking for money. I remember a girl who I heard went to military checkpoint and told a soldier, please just do anything you want with me but just give me lunch.
“Recently, there was a little girl who was hawking groundnut in Abuja and a man came down from a Keke(tricycle) and said come, my oga is calling you, he wants to buy groundnut. Initially she did not want to go but the man asked don’t you want to sell your groundnut and she went. Both the man and his partner raped the girl. She went to the police station but a policeman told her she was a fool to have followed the man. The victim ended up getting blamed and nobody asked who these men were and how to arrest and prosecute them.
Difficult prosecuting rapists
“The laws do not protect the woman, when we started investigating rape; we were shocked to discover how difficult it is to prosecute rape. According to law, a woman or girl or whoever is raped has to have a medical report from a public not even a private hospital; she has to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that she was actually raped. For so many people who have been raped, the last thing on their mind is taking themselves to hospital; they just go and hide in shame; there are no awareness, people don’t even know that they have to go and get tested immediately, it is really sad.”
An Investigative Officer of Child’s Rights Brigade International, CRiB, Dahot Yusuf said counselling of victims could reduce the trauma but many parents of minor always frustrate investigations processes because they don’t want to face what they call shame.
According to him: “Most times, evidences are not just enough to prosecute suspects because of lack of proper awareness. Parents should know that when something like that happens, they are not to bathe the children but get to a General Hospital for report and verification before the evidences are lost.
“Another issue that hinders prosecution of suspects is when the suspect and victim are from different religion and culture. Recently in Kantoma, Mangu local government area, because of the differences in languages and culture, relatives and friends of the suspect ganged up against the victim who is from a different tribe.
“Medical personnel should also be sensitized because they sometimes feel reluctant giving out the report because they don’t want to appear in court to testify. Men mostly don’t sympathise with victims of rape but either blame them or become indifferent.”
Meanwhile the Acting Chairman of Qua’an Pan Traditional Council who is also the Long Kwa, Miskagam Ignatius Didel told VF: “In Qua’an Pan, the case is not wide spread, but we only record it around Namu area because of the Fulani who migrated from Nassarawa State to stay with us there. They seize things belonging to farmers, kill them and rape girls and women. We are trying to arrest the situation but such incident is not commonly heard among the natives.”
Dr. Patrick Daru of the Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH stated: “The rising cases of violation of children by adults, called paedophilia, deserve strong measures to address as a significant number of patients (minors) have been examined in the hospital and confirmed to have been raped but the recent strike action by health workers might have discouraged people from coming to the hospital as no recent case is registered in large number.”
Enlightenment, parental care to the rescue
To stem the menace, the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development said it has embarked on enlightenment campaigns to alert parents and their children to this crime and how to avoid being violated. Yusuf said: “Parents also have to spend more time with their children, be closer to them and teach them about sex education early in life and have interest in who their children’s friends are and get the children positively engaged to avoid idleness.”
Furthermore, Prof. Para-Mallam advocated that: “Adequate laws should be put in place to protect girls. Doctors, teachers, religious leaders, parents should be compelled by law to speak out but whoever covers up rape, especially of minor, should be punished by law.
“Police should be trained not to re-victimize the victims and since Plateau State has domesticated the Child Rights Law, it should be applied where appropriate to protect girl child

Unpaid Salaries: Buhari okays N804.7b lifeline for states - click link to See more at

TO end the lingering and back-breaking burden of unpaid workers’ salaries in several states of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has  approved a comprehensive relief package.
Sources said, yesterday, that President Buhari okayed a three-pronged relief package including sharing of fresh allocations, granting of soft loans and restructuring of states’ debt-servicing payments.
The packages are expected to go into effect this week as the President is said to have directed that release of the funds should be made urgently to assuage the plight of thousands of Nigerian workers in the federal and state governments.
President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari
The packages are:
About $2.1b (N413.7bn) will be shared in fresh allocation between the states and the federal government. The money is sourced from recent Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) proceeds to the federation account.
A Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-packaged special intervention fund that will offer financing to the states, ranging from between N250bn and N300bn. This would be a soft loan that states could access to pay the backlog of salaries.
Implementing a debt relief programme proposed by the Debt Management Office, DMO, which will help states restructure their commercial loans currently put at more than N660bn, and extend the life span of such loans while reducing their debt-servicing expenditures.
Also, a total of N391 billion from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, will be shared among the three tiers of government, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, disclosed yesterday.
With the N413.7 billion LNG proceeds it means the three tiers of government will share a total of N804.7 billion.
By extending the commercial loans of the states, according to the third package, more funds would be made available to the state governments, which otherwise would have been claimed at source by the banks.
Vanguard gathered that the Federal Government has agreed to use its influence to guarantee the elongation of the loans for the benefit of the states.
Sources explained that this package, which was considered at the National Economic Council, NEC, last week, is designed specifically for workers, adding that President Buhari reviewed and approved the package in his bid to intervene and alleviate the sufferings of workers, some of whom have not been paid for over 10 months.
Contacted, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina confirmed the development, adding that the President is deeply concerned about the plight of the workers.
While inaugurating the NEC last week, President Buhari asked the council to, as a matter of priority, consider how to liquidate the unpaid salaries of workers across the country, a situation he observed has brought untold hardship to the workers.
While the N413bn LNG proceeds would be shared among the three tiers of government using the revenue allocation formula, the CBN will also make available the special intervention fund to states and then negotiate the terms with individual states.
At the NEC meeting, the relief measures were extensively discussed between the state governors and top officials of the Federal Government including the CBN governor, and the permanent secretaries from ministries of Finance and Petroleum Resources. Other agencies that were actively involved in the process include the DMO and officials from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, it was learned.
Currently, 12 of the 36 states of the federation are owing their workers more than N110 bn. The most affected states are Osun, Rivers, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Plateau, Benue, and Bauchi.
However, sources said the Finance Ministry and the CBN may have pegged the amount needed to settle all the outstanding public workers salaries at about N250 billion. There are also workers in the federal government’s employ whose salaries have not been paid for months and their cases would be taken care of by the new package.
FG, states to share N391bn ECA fund
On the N391 billion ECA fund, Idris, who was at the Presidential Villa alongside the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Anastasia Daniel- Nwaobia to brief President Buhari on the state of affairs in the ministry, said the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) would meet to determine sharing formula.
Idris took over from Jonah Otunla after his appointment on June 25.
Speaking to State House Correspondents, he said what the new regime met on the ground was between the $1.6 to $1.7 billion which is equivalent to N391 billion.
“It is hovering between $1.6 and $1.7 billion, and that is what we are going to distribute among all the three tiers of government — federal, states and local governments based on the approved formula.”
Speaking on the outcome of their meeting with President Buhari, he said that the President advised on prudent management of scarce resources.
“The general message is clear. Mr. President had a clear direction, and we all have to fall in line; prudent management of resources and identify more alternative ways of generating revenue which we are set to do and to manage the meagre resources we found on the ground very efficiently and effectively for the betterment of the economy,” Idris said.
Addressing journalists earlier, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance, Nwaobia also revealed that the meeting with the President was to formally brief him on the state of the nation’s finances.
She also hinted that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Budget Office of the Federation were verifying oil subsidy payments.
Nwaobia however dismissed insinuations that there was  massive looting going on in the ministries due to the absence of ministers, stressing that their absence cannot stall progress in the business of governance.
She said: “The state of Nigerian finances is okay. Our finances are okay, though we are still going through challenges of revenue stream to government and this you know obviously is from the oil shock, the price of oil that has dropped. It has significantly reduced the revenue stream to government but we are working on other ways to see how we can shore up the revenue, so that we will be able to meet our expenditure.
“We did not say that we will not pay subsidy. As the former minister said, there is a liability on subsidy which is being verified by the CBN and Budget Office of the Federation. The issue had to do with the forex differentials which they were claiming and this committee is looking into it, and as soon as it is resolved we will be able to say the verified amount also.”
The bailout package elicited commendations from some eminent Nigerians, who, however, urged our leaders to be prudent in the management of the scarce resources. Those who spoke on the issue included legal icon, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN); former presidential candidate, Professor Pat Utomi and Labour Party scribe, Kayode Ajulo.
It’s a welcome development—Sagay
Professor Sagay,described the bail out as a welcome development, saying: “Since they are owing salaries and all states have a share in the excess crude oil account and because they are in a desperate situation, I think it is a welcome decision.”
The legal icon, however, dismissed the notion that the bailout is a sign of weakness on the part of the President.
“People believe in extremism but to be strong does not mean that you have to be extreme. It does not mean that you have to lack any feelings for people. He (Buhari) must be thinking of thousands of workers, who have not been paid for six months.”
It is imperative for Nigeria’s survival — Utomi
On his part, Professor Pat Utomi said the bailout for states is imperative for the economic survival of the country. His words:
“It is important to recognize that without such bailout, the economy will be in danger as there will be no spending going on while those offering services will be unable to offer anything. The bailout is very important for the economy.”
Besides, he said “this development should now make government impose conditionality that will stop mismanagement and unnecessary spendings”.
Priority needs to be set right—Ajulo, LP scribe
On its part, the Labour Party, which accused the state governors of allegedly mismanaging resources meant to run the states, advised that the bailout funds must be judiciously spent.
LP National Secretary, Dr Kayode Ajulo,  said: “Priority needs to be set right on the granting and usage of the bail out. It is unfortunate that governors, most of whom operate flamboyantly and mismanaged their states’ resources are  begging for bailout. Salaries have to be paid, therefore the bailout must come with a condition that the money must be used to offset the unpaid salaries.”
The LP scribe noted that “I say this knowing the antics of some of our governors as we should not be surprised that some of them may commit the money to another white elephant project or buy private jets which is the latest vogue among them.  Greek was given conditions when she asked for bail out from the European Union and I see nothing wrong in setting a condition for the bail out as there must be an end to the prevalence of financial indiscipline  among our state executive.”
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