Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Fani-Kayode reportedly causes panic when he storms Lagos Hotel with 15 armed policemen

Ex-Minister of Aviation and campaign spokesman for former President Goodluck Jonathan caused panic and triggered anxiety yesterday when he arrived at the 5-star Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos with 15 heavily armed policemen. The hotel is located at 4 Onitolo Road (former Lawrence Road) in Ikoyi, an upscale area of Lagos.

The fierce-looking police officers were from the anti-riot unit.

Judgment will be delivered today in a long-running corruption trial in which Mr. Fani-Kayode is the defendant. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed the corruption charges against the former Jonathan's aide and ex-minister at a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Guests at Wheatbaker Hotel, especially expatriates, panicked at the sight of the police officers. Some of the hotel’s expatriate guests reportedly made frantic calls to their embassies as the armed policemen entered the hotel’s reception area and started acting in a manner that was deemed intimidating.

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Australian man killed fighting against IS in Syria

An Australian man has died after helping Kurdish forces in Syria fighting against the Islamic State group during a night-time operation on the weekend.

Reece Harding 23-year-old left his Gold Coast home in May to take up humanitarian work in Syria.

The devastated Keith Harding told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he received a message telling him to call an overseas number.

When he did so, the man on the other line explained: "I'm sorry mate that Reece is gone... he's stepped on a landmine. He's dead."

"With all the information that's spread about on the Internet with people beheading people, killing children, raping and beating women, I think it really did get to him in the end," said his father.

"He felt that he wanted to do the right thing and try and stop it in his small way that he could."

A man who said he fought alongside Reece posted a tribute on a Lions of Rojava Facebook page, set up by supporters who recruit for Syrian Kurdish forces.

About 120 Australians are believed to be fighting in Iraq and Syria, the vast majority with jihadist groups. At least 30 have been killed, according to the Australian government.

Nike Co-Founder Knight to step down as chairman

Nike Chairman Phil Knight has announced plans to step down as company chairman of the board in 2016 and has recommended Nike President and CEO Mark Parker as his successor.
''For me, Nike has always been more than just a company - it has been my life’s passion,'' said Knight in a statement issued by the company. ''Over the years, I've spent a great deal of time considering how I might someday evolve my ownership and leadership of Nike in a way that benefits all of our stakeholders. Today, we have taken a number of important steps that will continue to promote Nike’s long-term growth.''
No specific date was set for Knight's departure, though he said he plans to stay involved in the business. Nike Inc. said it expects to name a new chairman in 2016, according to ABC News.

Argentina crush Paraguay 6-1 to reach Copa America final

Argentina players celebrate after destroying Paraguay 6-1 to reach the final of the Copa America 2015 on Tuesday night June 30.

Goals from Angel Di Maria (2), Marcos Rojo, Javier Pastore, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain completed an emphatic rout for the South American giants.

Argentina will face hosts Chile in the final on Saturday July 4.

Photos: Behind the scenes with Petr Cech on his first day at Arsenal

Arsenal cameras were on set to capture and follow Petr Cech every step of the way on his first day. On Monday June 29, Arsenal FC completed a deal for Petr Cech from Chelsea for a fee of around £11 million on a "long-term contract".


Press Statement: Another Refutal:

Again, the attention of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has been drawn to a malicious, false and totally reprehensible news report, wherein it insinuated that the election of Dr. Bukola Saraki as the Senate President of the 8th Senate was facilitated by Nigerians associated with dubious claims in the infamous oil subsidy.

The news report went further to give a negative and dirty impression that the emergence of the President of the 8th Senate is aimed to sabotage the anti corruption posture of President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government as well as sabotage the 'Change agenda' of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

One of such desperate attempts to justify this blackmail and others was the story published in newspapers of Monday June 29 2015 as contained in a statement issued by the former Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande.

Ordinarily, we would have ignored the report, but for the sole reason that some undiscerning readers might mistake the fiction for the facts.

We also wish to state unequivocally that it was wrong and mischievous for the statement by Chief Akande to link what happened on the floor of both chambers to some unnamed oil barons.

We dare say that the entire story was the figment of the imagination of the author.

We make bold to state that in the 7th Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki was Chairman of the Senate Adhoc Committee which exposed the fraud and mismanagement in the oil sector.

Until Saraki's motion on the floor of the senate, no one was in the picture of the rot in the sector or took any action. Therefore, surely, Senator Saraki will be the last person the oil baron will want to see as Senate President.

No doubt, we make bold to state that Saraki is the last person to be so sponsored by the oil barons or cabals.

In that position, Saraki did not only lead his colleagues in exposing the rot in the scheme but made very strong recommendations on how the system could be reformed and made corrupt- free.

It is on records that through his motion on the floor of the Senate, the House of Representatives followed in what is to be known as Oil subsidy probe and to which Ministers of Finance and Petroleum summoned and at last over,N500 billion was saved. Certainly, Senator Saraki is the last person to be so sponsored by the oil barons or cabals.

Further to this, during the Senate hearing on the missing $20 Billion, for those who attended the public hearing, Senator Saraki led the onslaught of difficult questions to both the Minister of Finance, Minister of Petroleum and other federal agencies despite being in the ruling party then. To this effect, Senator Saraki refused to sign the final copy of the committee's report but rather put forward a minority report with a press statement that follow suit.

Saraki went further to oppose the inclusion of kerosene subsidy in the 2015 budget as well as his opposition to Petroleum Swop deal by NNPC.

Let it be known therefore that the Senate Presidency of Dr. Bukola Saraki would not in any way be a stumbling block against President Buhari’s posture against anti corruption.

Rather, the 8th Senate under him as the President would give all necessary legislative support to the administration to fight and reduce corruption as his previous actions and bold step taken against the so called oil barons indicates that Saraki is committed to anti corruption.

For avoidance of doubt, we want to make it abundantly clear that it is totally false, untrue and calculated mischief to suggest that Senator Saraki's emergence as Senate President was facilitated by oil barons. This is a case of calling the dog a bad name so as to hang it. Another blatant lies that can not fly. In any case, Senator Saraki was elected unopposed as the Senate President, therefore the lies that he was sponsored by the oil barons cannot hold.

Senator Bukola Saraki is determined and focused to achieve the Senate targeted legislative agenda and he is committed to support President Buhari to deliver on his promises to the people of Nigeria.

CBN extends BVN registration deadline to October 31

The Central Bank of Nigeria has extended the deadline for the registration for Bank Verification Number (BVN) to October 31, 2015 from June 30.

CBN Director, Banking and Payment System Department, Mr Dipo Fatokun explained in a circular issued in Abuja, on Tuesday June 30, that the extension was to facilitate smooth completion of the registration exercise.
''It has come to our notice that the BVN registration has elicited tremendous interest from the Nigerian bank customers who crowded the banking halls in order to beat the deadline. In view of the foregoing, it has become imperative for the banks to extend the timeline for all customers to have the BVN. The deadline for the enrollment is hereby extended from June 30 to Oct. 31,'' Fatokun said.

Liberia records Ebola death despite being declared virus-free

A Liberian teenager has died of Ebola, more than seven weeks after the west African country was declared free of the virus, a government minister said on Tuesday.

The body of the 17-year-old tested positive for Ebola on Sunday and he was buried the same day. Authorities have begun tracing people he may have come into contact with while infected, Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said.

"There is no need to panic. The corpse has been buried and our contact tracing has started work," Nyenswah told Reuters.

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Presidency returns accreditation tag of German Radio Reporter covering Presidential Villa

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina had on Monday June 29 returned the accreditation tag of German Radio Deutsche Welle correspondent, Mr Ubale Musa covering the Presidential Villa.

Mr. Musa’s accreditation tag was withdrawn by a Chief Security Officer to the immediate past President (Jonathan) attached to the Presidential Villa after Musa asked a visiting Chadian President, Idriss Deby, a question they found embarrassing last month May 2015.

On presentation of the accreditation tag, Adesina said,
''Part of the change promised by President Buhari is correcting things that were wrongly done before. Mr. Ubale Musa’s accreditation was wrongly withdrawn. To redress the wrong done to him by the withdrawal, we have returned his Villa Press Pass to him so that he can continue his work without hindrance''.

Lagos begins reformation of Local Government Councils

Lagos State Government has kicked-off the process of revamping the Local Government Councils in a bid to make them more responsive and responsible to the people. In the light of this, a committee on reformation of local government administration in the state has been inaugurated.

The 19-man Committee which has a two-week term of reference is expected to come up with recommendations on improved service delivery processes and procedures in the council areas.

Lagos state Head of Service, Mrs Shade Jaji pointed out that being the first point of contact, local governments determines the what, when and how citizens could benefit and enjoy the dividends of democracy through quality services delivery.

Service Delivery

She noted that measures taken in the past to position the councils for quality and effective service delivery had been unsuccessful.
''There is no gainsaying that for quite some time now, citizens have not felt much impact from their Local Governments. This is in spite of the huge human and material resources available in their domain for the development of their communities. In the attempt to find the missing link, Government tried the Community Development Association approach (CDAs); still without success. It is against this backdrop that His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode decided that there is an urgent need to address the administrative, governance structure and service delivery processes and procedure in Local Governments across the State,” she said.
Effectiveness and high productivity

Mrs Jaji expressed optimism that the planned reform would produce a stronger and a more efficient Local Government administrative System that has a greater ability to deliver the quantum and quality of services required in an emerging megacity like Lagos.

She also charged the committee to examine not only the structure of the council areas, but also those factors militating against their optimal performances.
''It would be recalled that the State Government in partnership with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through its States Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability (SPARC) programme embarked on reforms of the state public service for better service delivery. These reforms therefore need to cascade to the Local Government levels for even development and synergy in governance in the State,'' the Head of service noted.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Committee, Mr Nurudeen Ojora-Adejiyan described the constitution of the committee as a step in the right direction.

Ojora-Adejiyan who is a retired Permanent Secretary pledged that the committee would deliver the assignment within the stipulated time.

Terms of reference

The committee has the following terms of reference

Examine the Structure and current practice of Local Government Administration in Lagos State.

Examine the factors militating against optimum performance and quality service delivery by Local Governments in Lagos State.

Examine the modalities for instituting inter-service exchange of staff, knowledge and skills between the State and Local Government Services.

Examine the modalities for the establishment of an institutionalized Human Resource Capacity Development and Management policy for Local Government in Lagos State.

Other recommendations that would assist in enhancing service delivery in Local Government Administration in Lagos State.

The membership of the Committee consists of carefully selected Administrators and other professionals who have had the privilege and experience of working in the mainstream Civil Service and the Local Government Service.

For years, Governor Ambode had been in the service of local government and is believed to have a grasp of the workings of the third tier of government.

LAWMA Truck reportedly on fire at Iyana IPaja roundabout, Lagos

LAWMA Truck photographed on fire at Iyana Ipaja roundabout, Lagos today June 30. Dr A.A. Abiola just posted the images to his twitter account. . More updates..

Olamide Adedeji signs deal with SureBet247

Rapper Olamide Adedeji  has signed a multi-million Naira endorsement deal with Surebet247, according to the company's instagram account. SureBet247 is an online sports betting company.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Chris Brown shows off dramatic weight loss

Chris Brown's topless photos he posted to his instagram account revealing his dramatic weight loss between 2014 and 2015  .

Brown's 2014 photo sees him sporting a pair of swimming trunks showing off torso along with his huge tattoo collection,

In his second photo (2015), the Brown looks much trimmer as he poses in a pair of Ralph Lauren shorts and a red baseball cap.

The 26-year-old rapper won both the Fan Award and the Best Male R&B/Pop Artist Award at the 2105 BET Awards on Sunday night June 28.

Here's what he told the crowd at the event in his acceptance speech.
 "I ain’t good with speeches. A lot has changed in my life, a lot of mistakes, a lot of lessons learned. The best thing, I’m most thankful for is my daughter. At the end of the day, love is love. I love everybody. My fans, when I was in jail, ‘Loyal’ was number one."
On being "fat" last year.
"Last year, I was fat on this stage, dancing, trying to get my stuff together but right now I can only say I’m so thankful and happy to have the loyal fans in Team Breezy right now, because without y’all, I can’t do my music. Everyone that’s here that know me, to know me, is to love me. If you ain’t with us, so what? I love y’all."

Wayne Rooney shares adorable family selfie

Wayne Rooney shares selfie with wife Coleen Rooney, and his two sons, Kai Wayne and Klay Anthony as they stuck their tongues out during family time over the weekend.

The 29-year-old Manchester United Forward very happy spending valuable time with his family.




I am delighted to be here with you at this occasion on the inauguration of the National Economic Council (NEC) for this Administration. The National Economic Council was established by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, Third Schedule, Part I, Section 153: Sub section (18 & 19). The NEC, as one of the Federal Executive bodies, has the mandate to advise the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the co-ordination of the economic planning and programmes of the various Governments of the Federation.

2.        Your Excellencies, the regular meetings of the National Economic Council have remained the official economic platform for dialogue among the thirty six (36) State Governors, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and other co-opted members, chaired by the Vice President, where issues and challenges facing the development of the country, at national and sub-national levels, are discussed with a view to develop and harmonize common strategies for addressing them.

3. You may recall, that in my inaugural speech, on May 29, 2015 I stated that the primary objective of this Administration is to tackle insecurity; youth unemployment, through the revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining, as well as small and medium size businesses. I also highlighted pervasive corruption; fuel and power shortages; public service reforms; and the need to allow every tier of Government to exercise its constitutional responsibilities, among others. We are fully committed to embarking on sustainable visionary initiatives and programmes that will restructure and transform our national economy. We are also committed to ensuring collaboration and facilitation of the International efforts to combat threats of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), financial crimes, cyber crimes, climate change; the spread of communicable diseases and other challenges of the 21st century.

4. I urge you all to ensure that we surmount these enormous challenges facing us as a country by working to support economic policies, which the government will soon unveil to grow our economy and finance our external promises.

5.        I am pleased to note that the Council meetings have, over the years, been very constructive and productive, and the key outcomes as well as recommendations translated into Government policies at the Federal and state levels.  This has not only facilitated national economic planning, but also lead to over- all political harmony. It is also reassuring to note that steps have been taken in the past to strengthen the effectiveness of the Council in its role as prime adviser on developments in the economy. This process must be geared up substantially especially in the difficult times that we have now found ourselves. The National Planning Commission must continue to work to arrive at workable consensus on Government policies among the various tiers of Government, which is a prerequisite for sustained growth and development.

6.        Your Excellencies, it is evident that the task of ensuring growth, job creation and equity, is quite enormous. Consequently, we must kick-start this process by cultivating a culture of prudent management of resources at all levels of Government. This will entail looking inwards to secure sustainable ways of increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); and harnessing growth potentials of each State to supplement the Federation Account allocation to States. The States are also encouraged to embark on projects that will meet immediate needs of the people taking account of available resources. I therefore urge Council members to consider, as a matter of urgency, exploring efficient means of gradually liquidating all unpaid salaries of staff, which have brought untold hardship to thousands of families.

7. I would like also, as a former Governor myself to remind us the need for neighbouring states to cooperate closely on projects such as interstate and feeder roads, soil erosion, desertification and other developmental programmes. Our country is one and we who have the responsibility to run it lead by example. As far as is possible there should be distance between politics and development programmes.

8.        On its part the Federal Government will abide by the provisions of Sections 80 and 162 of the Constitution and ensure more accountability, transparency and integrity in the Distribution of the Federation Account.  All Revenue Generating Agencies such as Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Customs Services (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) amongst others shall comply with stipulated Financial Regulations and Administrative Instructions in their remittances into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

9.        On Insurgency, the Nigerian Armed Forces have shown renewed commitment and made steady progress in the fight against Boko Haram.  Nigeria, under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Republic of Benin is collaborating with the Republics of Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Benin to consolidate cross-border and international efforts at eradicating the insurgency.  I am also happy to reiterate that following my invitation to Germany early this month by the G7 Nations who have shown concern about the Insurgency and promised to intervene to restore the destroyed infrastructure, schools and hospitals amongst others, I have directed the front line states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to articulate realistic assessments, costs, locations on Local Government by-Local-Government of affected facilities for submission to the President of the G7 for further verification.  In addition, the requirements of the Military have been prepared by the Service Chiefs for the consideration of the G7 Nations.

10. Let me reiterate the high expectations of the NEC as a veritable source of articulating policies and programmes that are people centred and capable of driving further, the expected growth and development of the country as well as providing environment required for progress.

11.      Finally, I will like to express my appreciation to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN and all Council members for the honour and priviledge to formally inaugurate the National Economic Council today and to wish you all a successful tenure.

Thank you for your attention.

Petr Cech signs for Arsenal from Chelsea, writes personal letter to Chelsea fans

 Arsenal have completed a deal for Petr Cech from Chelsea for a fee of around £11 million on a "long-term contract"
''Very happy to announce that I have signed with @Arsenal,'' the 33-year-old tweeted.
The 33-year-old, who has signed what Arsenal describe as a "long-term contract", made more than 400 appearances in 11 years for the Blues. He decided to leave Stamford Bridge after losing his first-team spot to Thibaut Courtois.

Here's his personal letter  below...

"I thought this would never happen but it is time for me to say goodbye to Chelsea Football Club," Cech wrote in a message on his personal Twitter account.

"The club I have lived every single minute for since joining in July 2004, the club in which I thought I'd hang my gloves and boots one day and finish my career. But life doesn't always turn out the way you think it will.

"Since 2004 it has been an incredibly journey with so many highs and not many lows. We have managed to win every single English trophy as well as the Europa League and the biggest of all -- Champions League. Looking back at all the achievements, including our first-ever league [and FA Cup] double in 2010, back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, multiple EPL and FA Cup wins, I couldn't be more proud. As a team, we made history together.

"Last summer, things changed and I understood I was not the first-choice keeper but I felt it was not the right time for me to go. During the season it became clear that my situation would not improve and as I know I am not at the stage of my career where I want to be on the bench, I made my decision to move on and look for new challenges.

"The limited playing time gave me the chance to refresh and rest mentally as well as make me realise just how much I enjoy playing football at the highest level, because I missed it badly every game day I was not involved. I have the same commitment to football, the same motivation and the same hunger as I had at the beginning of my career and I love the challenges brought by the top-quality players you face while playing in the Premier League -- simply the best and the most challenging league in the world."

"I would personally like to thank everyone involved with Chelsea Football Club for their support -- all the players, staff, managers and all the coaching staff I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. Without them it would have impossible for us to have achieved such success.

"But most important of all, a huge thank you goes to all the Chelsea fans. I did everything for you, and you gave your love back. I'll never forget it. It will stay with me forever. We will meet again but this time I will be in the other goal. I hope you will remember our history and understand it is time for me to begin a new adventure."

Wishing "everybody at Chelsea Football Club all the best for the future," he wrote: "Thank you for an incredible 11 years."

Cech also thanked Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich for allowing him to join a Premier League rival.

Shakira baby boy turns 5 months old today!

The 38-year-old singer Shakira shares the many faces of her son Sasha as he turns 5 months old today. Happy birthday to him!
''Happy 5 months Sasha! Shak,'' she said on her social account.

Janet Jackson honored with Icon Award at the BET Awards last night

Janet Jackson was filled with joy as she takes the stage to accept the Ultimate Icon Award during the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California, June 28.

The ''Rhythm Nation'' singer, who released her song ''No Sleep'' last week and announced her ''Unbreakable'' tour for the fall, received the ''Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual Award.''
''I've missed you so much,'' said the 49-year-old Jackson, thanking her fans, parents and husband, Wissam Al Mana.

Kim Kardashian is 4 months pregnant

Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West leaving Hakkasan Restaurant in Mayfair, London on Sunday night June 28.

The 34-year-old reality star announced on her Twitter and Instagram accounts that she's 4 months pregnant.

PDP to Buhari: You can't blackmail us

Press Statement:

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says no amount of intimidation, blackmail and propaganda by the Presidency would stop it from standing shoulder to shoulder with Nigerians in demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari kick-starts government and commence implementation of his campaign promises for which he was voted into office.

The party said Presidency’s excuse of clearing the so-called Augean Stable is lame and diversionary noting that it stands by its statement that the delay is creating loopholes through which some persons claiming closeness to the President have infiltrated executive bodies, arm-twisting and conniving with unscrupulous elements in the bureaucracy to syphon the nation’s resources in the last 30 days.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in a statement on Monday said the party would not in any way be cowed by threats and wild allegations by the Presidency into abdicating its responsibility of speaking out as an opposition party where the system is derailing.

“The PDP and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians were appalled by the response from the Presidency regarding our call for prayers to enable President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration locate its bearing, compose a government and halt the prevailing stagnation with its huge negative impact on the system.

“Instead of addressing the issues raised, the Presidency descended to insults, abuses and innuendos, a stance which not only bears out the case made by the PDP but also raises questions about the capacity of this administration to shoulder the enormous responsibility of governance.

“While we expect the present administration to be serious about the fight against corruption, probe and persecute each and everyone involved in such, irrespective of their party leaning, we restate that these must be done within the ambits of the law and must not be used as a witch-hunt ostensibly to discredit and undermine the opposition. We therefore caution against the current drama of politicizing the issue of corruption in the country.

“Furthermore, the analogy of the Augean stable, is completely baffling to us at this level as it goes to a great length to question the capacity and the sincerity of those around the president.

“In Greek mythology, Hercules in his ingenuity took the task and efficiently cleared the Augean’ stable in a day for which he demanded a reward of a tenth of fine cattle belonging to the king.

“Nigerians would not want to believe that in the so-called clearing of the Augean stable, although not delivering in one day, President Buhari wants to play Hercules in his demand, this time, by wanting to run the government alone without the statutory components of the executive as enshrined in the constitution.

“We ask, is the so-called clearing of mess responsible for his inability after 90 days of winning an election to make up his mind on rudimentary appointments such as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff and his demand for 15 Special Advisers as approved by the PDP controlled Seventh Assembly since June 5, 2015?

“Perhaps we need to draw President Buhari’s attention to the fact that while he is busy clearing his imaginary mess on the pages of newspapers, some persons claiming closeness to him have in the last 30 days been piling up sleazes that also need his attention in key agencies of government.

“Despite the absence of approving and supervising officials, key income generating institutions like NNPC, NIMASA, NPA, FIRS and other strategic agencies have been invaded by persons claiming to be friends and associates of the President and this puts to question the sincerity and seriousness of the administration to affect the so-called change upon which they rode to power.

“Auxiliary to this is the issue of the construction of a helipad, amongst various expenses and other major government expenditure going on across board in the last one month and without due supervision as the eyes of the President cannot be everywhere.

“We declare unequivocally that we do have respect for the person and office of the President especially considering his age and status as an elder statesman. However, we will like to make it very clear that the President of the Federal Republic Nigeria is neither a Sheriff in the Old Wild West nor a military dictator in some Banana Republic. He is an elected president under a democratic setting.


Chief Olisa Metuh
National Publicity Secretary

FG assures a well equipped Civil Service

In order to realize the change desired of the present administration, the Federal Government has assured of its resolve to develop a well equipped civil service.

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Danladi Kifasi disclosed this in Abuja during an interactive session with the civil servants as part of the activities making the 2015 Nigeria Civil Service Day Celebration.

He said that a Structured Mandatory Assessment-Based Training Programme (SMAT-P) has been put in place to equip civil servants with basic skills and knowledge needed to discharge their duties in a more professional, knowledgeable, competent and effective manner.

Kifasi said further that his office having identified the need to build the capacity of the Civil Service across board developed the SMAT-P in partnership with reputable international training organizations and world class-experts.

“The curriculum and training material for the scheme have been fully developed in partnership with the Management Development Institutes both local and international training experts. The Office of the Head of Service is currently receiving nominations from MDAs for commencement of the programme in July 2015.”

The Head of Service further informed civil servants that given the dwindling economic resources in Nigeria, and the need to encourage the in-country capacity building, a circular had been issued restricting foreign trainings and trips by public servants.

“Specifically, the circular stated that most training activities should now take place in Nigeria and that attendance at the foreign events should now be at no cost to government.  The effect of the circular is that there has been a drastic reduction in the number of requests for permissions to travel abroad. This has saved government a lot of money in the shot time that it has been enforced and has the potential of growing locally based training at home”, he noted.

EXCLUSIVE: Buhari asked to dump Jonathan’s PIB

It is not yet Uhuru for the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as the APC transition committee has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to jettison the version proposed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

In its place, the committee said “Dr. Rilwanu Lukman’s version” should be passed into law by the national assembly.

The omnibus law for the petroleum industry is designed to reform the oil and gas sector, which gives Nigeria over 90% of its forex earnings as well as over 60% of national spending.

The delay in passing the bill is believed to have created uncertainty in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, leading to the loss of over $80 billion in fresh investments, with investors unsure of the regulatory, political and economic conditions under which they will operate.

Most of these investments have been diverted to Angola, which has enjoyed political stability in the last decade.

“Lukman’s version” 

The house of representatives had passed the latest version shortly before the last administration wound down, although the senate could not vote on it and this effectively meant the bill could not become law in the life of the Jonathan government.

However, the proposal by the Ahmed Joda-led transition committee that “Lukman’s version” should be passed may generate political and administrative hitches.

Lukman, former minister of petroleum resources under President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from December 2008 to March 2010, did not originate the bill.

Lukman, who died in 2014, was special adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo when the first draft of the bill was prepared but was not sent to the national assembly until Obasanjo left office in 2007.

Several versions of the bill were being sent to the national assembly under Lukman’s watch as various interests struggled to tamper with it to maximise their benefits.

“Diezani’s version” 

The exit of Lukman in 2010 led to a review of the various versions by Diezani Alison-Madueke, Lukman’s successor in the ministry.

The reasons for the proposal to adopt “Lukman’s version” are not very clear, as there were no significant changes in the contentious areas, such as the fiscal regime which the international oil companies (IOCs) considered to be unfavourable.

Whereas the “Lukman’s version” provided 10% equity to oil “host communities”, this was reduced to 7.5% in “Diezani’s version” passed by the house of representatives. The definition of “host” was also expanded to cover all communities that pipelines pass through, not just where exploration is being made.

The discretionary powers to award oil licences which were granted to the minister of petroleum resources under “Lukman’s version” were retained in “Diezani’s version”, but the house of representatives removed the provision.

The Joda recommendations are currently being reviewed by a committee headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

- The Cable

Photos from the National Economic Council Meeting today in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the National Economic Council (NEC), with a call on state governors to settle all unpaid workers’ salaries in their respective states today Monday June 29 at the presidential Villa in Abuja.


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