Saturday, 31 December 2016

U.N. Security Council welcomes Syria truce, rebels warn they could abandon it

The United Nations Security Council on Saturday welcomed a ceasefire in the Syrian civil war, but rebel groups threatened to abandon the two-day-old truce if violations persisted.

A resolution welcoming the ceasefire, the third truce this year seeking to end nearly six years of war, was adopted unanimously by the 15-member Council, meeting in New York.

The deal, brokered by Russia and Turkey, which back opposing sides, reduced violence, but firefights, air strikes and shelling went on in some areas.

A twin suicide bombing killed at least two people in the Syrian coastal city of Tartous in an area under government control and in President Bashar al-Assad's coastal heartland shortly after midnight on Sunday, state media and monitors reported.

The attack killed at least two security officers and wounded several other people when two suicide bombers blew themselves up after being stopped, Syrian state media reported, in the first targeting of the area for several months.

Factions belonging to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) - a loose alliance of militias excluding more radical Islamist groups - said government forces and Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah fighters had been trying to push rebels back in the Wadi Barada valley, northwest of Damascus.

"Continued violations by the regime and bombardment and attempts to attack areas under the control of the revolutionary factions will make the agreement null and void," said a statement from the rebel groups.

The rebels and political opposition said the government side was massing forces to launch a ground attack in the area. There has been no new announcement by the military since it launched operations in the area last week.

FSA factions said in a separate statement that they would abandon the truce deal if Russia, whose air power has helped President Bashar al-Assad to turn the tide of the war, did not use its influence to halt the Wadi Barada attacks by 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).

Later, two rebel officials said air raids around Wadi Barada had stopped just before 8 p.m. and that the ceasefire therefore still held, although clashes in the area were continuing.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group confirmed that there had been fighting in the area, source of most of the capital's water, and said there had also been government shelling in the southern provinces of Quneitra and Deraa.

PUTIN-ROUHANI CALL

Russia's Defence Ministry said on Friday that rebels had violated the truce 12 times in 24 hours. Much of Friday's violence took place along the border between Hama and Idlib provinces in northwest Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed in a telephone call on Saturday to work together to try to end the Syria crisis and make a success of peace talks planned for the Kazakh capital Astana, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The British-based Observatory said the level of fighting had fallen on Saturday, and the truce was not currently at risk, although one rebel official said it was "in serious danger".

In their statement, the FSA factions said it appeared the government and opposition had signed two different versions of the ceasefire deal, one of which was missing "a number of key and essential points that are non-negotiable", but did not say what those were.

The ceasefire deal is the first not to involve the United States or the United Nations.

The Security Council welcomed the truce despite being urged by the FSA factions not to endorse the deal until the Syrian government and Russia had shown they would respect it.

The resolution also welcomed plans for the talks in Kazakhstan before a resumption of U.N.-brokered talks in Geneva in February.

The war has killed more than 300,000 people and made more than 11 million homeless.

Even with a successful truce between Assad and the main armed opposition, the multi-sided conflict will continue.

In particular, Turkey is trying to push back Kurdish forces and the jihadist Islamic State, both excluded from the deal, from areas south of its border.

The position of other Islamist groups such as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham with respect to the ceasefire is unclear; both have criticised it.

Reuters

Trump leaves open possible Taiwan meet, questions Russia hacking

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday left open the possibility of meeting with Taiwan's president if she visits the United States after he is sworn in on Jan. 20 and also expressed continued skepticism over whether Russia was responsible for computer hacks of Democratic Party officials.

In remarks to reporters upon entering a New Year's Eve celebration at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump said, "We'll see," when pressed on whether he would meet Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's president if she were to be in the United States at any point after he becomes president. Taiwan's president will be in transit in Houston on Jan. 7 and again will be in transit in San Francisco on Jan. 13.

Trump, citing protocol, said he would not meet with any foreign leaders while President Barack Obama is still in office.

Beijing bristled when Trump, shortly after his Nov. 8 victory, accepted a congratulatory telephone call from the Taiwan leader and has warned against steps that would upset the "one-China" policy China and the United States have maintained for decades.

Talk of a stop-over in the United States by the Taiwan president has further rattled Washington-Beijing relations.

On another foreign policy matter, Trump warned against being quick to pin the blame on Russia for the hacking of U.S. emails. The Washington Post also reported on Friday that Moscow could be behind intrusion into a laptop owned by a Vermont electric utility.

U.S. intelligence officials have said that they are confident Russia was behind the hacks of political figures, which could have played a role in Trump's defeat over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"I think it's unfair if we don't know. It could be somebody else. I also know things that other people don't know so we cannot be sure," Trump said.

Asked what that information included, the Republican President-elect said, "You will find out on Tuesday or Wednesday."

He did not elaborate.

But he said that any computer is subject to hacks.

"It's very important. If you have something really important write it out and have it delivered by courier the old fashioned way," Trump said, adding, "No computer is safe, I don't care what they say."

Trump tried to end the year on a positive note, however, despite questions about the future of U.S.-Russia relations because of escalating tensions between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as Trump's promise to crack down on China's trade practices, which he says unfairly target American workers.

"Hopefully we're going to have great relationships with many countries and that includes Russia and that includes China," Trump said.

But he criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for earlier this week offering a stark assessment of Israel's policies in the Middle East, which he said could threaten the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state co-existing with Israel. Trump called Kerry's speech "very unfair."

As he wrapped up a four-minute informal chat with reporters, Trump also was asked what his 2017 new year's resolution was.

"Make America great again," he said.

Reuters

New Year's attack on packed Istanbul club leaves 39 dead

An assailant believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume opened fire at a crowded nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's celebrations, killing at least 39 people and wounding close to 70 others in what the province's governor described as a terror attack.

Gov. Vasip Sahin said the attacker, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside the club at around 1:45 a.m. Sunday before entering and firing on people partying inside. He did not say who may have carried out the attack.

"Unfortunately (he) rained bullets in a very cruel and merciless way on innocent people who were there to celebrate New Year's and have fun," Sahin told reporters.

Private NTV news channel said the assailant entered the Reina nightclub, in Istanbul's Ortakoy district, dressed in a Santa Claus outfit.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the man was still on the run, adding: "efforts to find the terrorist are continuing."

"Our security forces have started the necessary operations. God willing he will be caught in a short period of time," the minister said.

At least 16 of the dead were foreign nationals, Soylu said, without providing information on their nationalities. Five of the victims were identified as Turkish nationals while authorities were still trying to identify 18 of the victims. At least 69 people were being treated in hospitals, four in serious condition, Soylu said.

Some customers jumped into the waters of the Bosporus to escape the attack, the report said.

Sinem Uyanik was inside the club with her husband who was wounded in the attack.

"Before I could understand what was happening, my husband fell on top me," she said outside Istanbul's Sisli Etfal Hospital. "I had to lift several bodies from top of me before I could get out. It was frightening." Her husband was not in serious condition despite sustaining three wounds.

Police with riot gear and machine guns backed up by armored vehicles blocked the area close to the Reina nightclub, one of the most popular night spots in Istanbul. Several ambulances flashing blue lights arrived on the scene, some taking wounded to hospitals.

The White House condemned what it called a "horrific terrorist attack" and offered U.S. help to Turkey.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack by his national security team and asked to be updated as the situation developed. Obama is vacationing in Hawaii this week with his family.

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the attack on "innocent revelers" celebrating New Year's shows the attackers' savagery.

"Our thoughts are with victims and their loved ones. We continue to work to prevent these tragedies," European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini tweeted.

An estimated 600 people were celebrating inside the club that is also frequented by famous locals, including singers, actors and sports stars. Several shocked revelers were seen fleeing the scene after the attack and the music fell silent.

The country has been rocked by a series of deadly attacks in 2016 carried out by the Islamic State group or Kurdish militants, killing more than 180 people.

On Dec. 10, a double bomb attack outside soccer stadium — located near the Reina nightclub — killed 44 people and wounded 149 others. The attack was claimed by Turkey-based Kurdish militant group, the Kurdish Freedom Falcons. Nine days later, an off-duty Turkish riot policeman assassinated Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov at a photo exhibition in the capital, Ankara. The government has suggested that a movement led U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the killing — an accusation the cleric has denied.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag vowed that Turkey would press ahead with its fight against violent groups.

"Turkey will continue its determined and effective combat to root out terror," Bozdag said on Twitter.

Security measures had been heightened in major Turkish cities, with police barring traffic leading up to key squares in Istanbul and the capital Ankara. In Istanbul, 17,000 police officers were put on duty, some camouflaged as Santa Claus and others as street vendors, Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported.

AP

Trump: 'Happy New Year to my many enemies'

Donald Trump tweeted a holiday message on Saturday morning (December 31), wishing his 'enemies' a happy new year.

''Happy New Year to all, including my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do, the 70-year-old U.S. president-elect wrote. ''Love!''


President Buhari's New Year's Message To Nigerians January 1st 2017!

My dear Compatriots,

I am happy to welcome you to the beginning of a New Year in our beloved country Nigeria.

I felicitate with you today at a time when our nation is witnessing a new and impressive turnaround in our security and socio-economic situation.

I know you will join me to, once again, congratulate the heroic and gallant efforts of our military and other security agencies on their remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism.

Following the successful capture of Sambisa Forest, spearheaded by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, we have entered a new phase in our battle against our common enemy, Boko Haram.

When we see our beloved 21 Chibok girls reuniting with their families and community for Christmas, it gives us the hope that those who are still in captivity will one day return to the loving arms of family, friends and well-wishers.

I urge all Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest security agencies, as our armed forces intensify the pursuit of fleeing terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.

Misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.


The support of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our country.

Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on December 25, 2016, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the country is imminent.

The Federal Government will spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency. I urge state governments, privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal.

Government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs. We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and punish the culprits.

In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.
The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness. Some sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory statements, while the government is painstakingly trying to find solutions to our challenges.
I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says “it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch”. Nigeria is a bunch and is more than equal to troublemakers.
I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.

The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects of our national life that unite us. We are courageous, hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of difficulties.
These are the attributes that define us and have for years confounded the pessimists who do not believe in our continued existence as a united and indivisible nation. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities for national development. We must continue to support and tolerate one another and live together as one.


We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table.

As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in. They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.

On our part, in the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, we have focused our energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are getting things right.


The agricultural revolution has begun.  Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning. I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.

As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimizing the use of local content and empowering local businesses.

In pursuit of this administration’s philosophy, we will continue to appeal that we buy "Made In Nigeria" goods. Like I said during the 2017 Budget presentation to the National Assembly, farmers, small and medium-sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of our economic future. They are the engine of our economic recovery and their needs underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.

Our determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains unshaken. This fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of law and due process, will not spare anybody or organ of government. It is a collective undertaking and resolve that must be seen to its logical conclusion in spite of certain distractions. The fate of our country lies partly in the success of this campaign. It will be unthinkable on my part to allow the boat of this crucial campaign promise capsize mid-stream.

I thank you for the public support for our administration’s efforts to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that the current pains are temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in gestation begin to bloom to fruition. I urge you to continue to support this administration in its effort to transform Nigeria for the good of all.

I wish you a Happy New Year, 2017.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Buhari's New Year's Message To Nigerians January 1st 2017!

My dear Compatriots,

I am happy to welcome you to the beginning of a New Year in our beloved country Nigeria.

I felicitate with you today at a time when our nation is witnessing a new and impressive turnaround in our security and socio-economic situation.

I know you will join me to, once again, congratulate the heroic and gallant efforts of our military and other security agencies on their remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism.

Following the successful capture of Sambisa Forest, spearheaded by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, we have entered a new phase in our battle against our common enemy, Boko Haram.

When we see our beloved 21 Chibok girls reuniting with their families and community for Christmas, it gives us the hope that those who are still in captivity will one day return to the loving arms of family, friends and well-wishers.

I urge all Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest security agencies, as our armed forces intensify the pursuit of fleeing terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.

Misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.


The support of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our country.

Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on December 25, 2016, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the country is imminent.

The Federal Government will spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency. I urge state governments, privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal.

Government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs. We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and punish the culprits.

In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.
The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness. Some sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory statements, while the government is painstakingly trying to find solutions to our challenges.
I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says “it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch”. Nigeria is a bunch and is more than equal to troublemakers.
I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.

The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects of our national life that unite us. We are courageous, hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of difficulties.
These are the attributes that define us and have for years confounded the pessimists who do not believe in our continued existence as a united and indivisible nation. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities for national development. We must continue to support and tolerate one another and live together as one.


We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table.

As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in. They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.

On our part, in the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, we have focused our energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are getting things right.


The agricultural revolution has begun.  Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning. I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.

As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimizing the use of local content and empowering local businesses.

In pursuit of this administration’s philosophy, we will continue to appeal that we buy "Made In Nigeria" goods. Like I said during the 2017 Budget presentation to the National Assembly, farmers, small and medium-sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of our economic future. They are the engine of our economic recovery and their needs underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.

Our determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains unshaken. This fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of law and due process, will not spare anybody or organ of government. It is a collective undertaking and resolve that must be seen to its logical conclusion in spite of certain distractions. The fate of our country lies partly in the success of this campaign. It will be unthinkable on my part to allow the boat of this crucial campaign promise capsize mid-stream.

I thank you for the public support for our administration’s efforts to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that the current pains are temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in gestation begin to bloom to fruition. I urge you to continue to support this administration in its effort to transform Nigeria for the good of all.

I wish you a Happy New Year, 2017.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Buhari's New Year's Message To Nigerians January 1st 2017!

My dear Compatriots,

I am happy to welcome you to the beginning of a New Year in our beloved country Nigeria.

I felicitate with you today at a time when our nation is witnessing a new and impressive turnaround in our security and socio-economic situation.

I know you will join me to, once again, congratulate the heroic and gallant efforts of our military and other security agencies on their remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism.

Following the successful capture of Sambisa Forest, spearheaded by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, we have entered a new phase in our battle against our common enemy, Boko Haram.

When we see our beloved 21 Chibok girls reuniting with their families and community for Christmas, it gives us the hope that those who are still in captivity will one day return to the loving arms of family, friends and well-wishers.

I urge all Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest security agencies, as our armed forces intensify the pursuit of fleeing terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.

Misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.


The support of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our country.

Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on December 25, 2016, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the country is imminent.

The Federal Government will spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency. I urge state governments, privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal.

Government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs. We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and punish the culprits.

In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.
The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness. Some sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory statements, while the government is painstakingly trying to find solutions to our challenges.
I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says “it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch”. Nigeria is a bunch and is more than equal to troublemakers.
I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.

The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects of our national life that unite us. We are courageous, hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of difficulties.
These are the attributes that define us and have for years confounded the pessimists who do not believe in our continued existence as a united and indivisible nation. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities for national development. We must continue to support and tolerate one another and live together as one.


We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table.

As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in. They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.

On our part, in the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, we have focused our energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are getting things right.


The agricultural revolution has begun.  Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning. I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.

As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimizing the use of local content and empowering local businesses.

In pursuit of this administration’s philosophy, we will continue to appeal that we buy "Made In Nigeria" goods. Like I said during the 2017 Budget presentation to the National Assembly, farmers, small and medium-sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of our economic future. They are the engine of our economic recovery and their needs underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.

Our determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains unshaken. This fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of law and due process, will not spare anybody or organ of government. It is a collective undertaking and resolve that must be seen to its logical conclusion in spite of certain distractions. The fate of our country lies partly in the success of this campaign. It will be unthinkable on my part to allow the boat of this crucial campaign promise capsize mid-stream.

I thank you for the public support for our administration’s efforts to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that the current pains are temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in gestation begin to bloom to fruition. I urge you to continue to support this administration in its effort to transform Nigeria for the good of all.

I wish you a Happy New Year, 2017.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Buhari's New Year's Message To Nigerians January 1st 2017!

My dear Compatriots,

I am happy to welcome you to the beginning of a New Year in our beloved country Nigeria.

I felicitate with you today at a time when our nation is witnessing a new and impressive turnaround in our security and socio-economic situation.

I know you will join me to, once again, congratulate the heroic and gallant efforts of our military and other security agencies on their remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism.

Following the successful capture of Sambisa Forest, spearheaded by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, we have entered a new phase in our battle against our common enemy, Boko Haram.

When we see our beloved 21 Chibok girls reuniting with their families and community for Christmas, it gives us the hope that those who are still in captivity will one day return to the loving arms of family, friends and well-wishers.

I urge all Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest security agencies, as our armed forces intensify the pursuit of fleeing terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.

Misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.


The support of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our country.

Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on December 25, 2016, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the country is imminent.

The Federal Government will spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency. I urge state governments, privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal.

Government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs. We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and punish the culprits.

In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.
The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness. Some sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory statements, while the government is painstakingly trying to find solutions to our challenges.
I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says “it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch”. Nigeria is a bunch and is more than equal to troublemakers.
I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.

The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects of our national life that unite us. We are courageous, hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of difficulties.
These are the attributes that define us and have for years confounded the pessimists who do not believe in our continued existence as a united and indivisible nation. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities for national development. We must continue to support and tolerate one another and live together as one.


We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table.

As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in. They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.

On our part, in the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, we have focused our energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are getting things right.


The agricultural revolution has begun.  Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning. I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.

As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimizing the use of local content and empowering local businesses.

In pursuit of this administration’s philosophy, we will continue to appeal that we buy "Made In Nigeria" goods. Like I said during the 2017 Budget presentation to the National Assembly, farmers, small and medium-sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of our economic future. They are the engine of our economic recovery and their needs underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.

Our determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains unshaken. This fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of law and due process, will not spare anybody or organ of government. It is a collective undertaking and resolve that must be seen to its logical conclusion in spite of certain distractions. The fate of our country lies partly in the success of this campaign. It will be unthinkable on my part to allow the boat of this crucial campaign promise capsize mid-stream.

I thank you for the public support for our administration’s efforts to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that the current pains are temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in gestation begin to bloom to fruition. I urge you to continue to support this administration in its effort to transform Nigeria for the good of all.

I wish you a Happy New Year, 2017.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Buhari's New Year's Message To Nigerians January 1st 2017!

My dear Compatriots,

I am happy to welcome you to the beginning of a New Year in our beloved country Nigeria.

I felicitate with you today at a time when our nation is witnessing a new and impressive turnaround in our security and socio-economic situation.

I know you will join me to, once again, congratulate the heroic and gallant efforts of our military and other security agencies on their remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism.

Following the successful capture of Sambisa Forest, spearheaded by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, we have entered a new phase in our battle against our common enemy, Boko Haram.

When we see our beloved 21 Chibok girls reuniting with their families and community for Christmas, it gives us the hope that those who are still in captivity will one day return to the loving arms of family, friends and well-wishers.

I urge all Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest security agencies, as our armed forces intensify the pursuit of fleeing terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.

Misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.


The support of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our country.

Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on December 25, 2016, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the country is imminent.

The Federal Government will spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency. I urge state governments, privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal.

Government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs. We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and punish the culprits.

In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.
The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness. Some sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory statements, while the government is painstakingly trying to find solutions to our challenges.
I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says “it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch”. Nigeria is a bunch and is more than equal to troublemakers.
I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.

The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects of our national life that unite us. We are courageous, hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of difficulties.
These are the attributes that define us and have for years confounded the pessimists who do not believe in our continued existence as a united and indivisible nation. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities for national development. We must continue to support and tolerate one another and live together as one.


We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table.

As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in. They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.

On our part, in the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, we have focused our energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are getting things right.


The agricultural revolution has begun.  Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning. I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.

As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimizing the use of local content and empowering local businesses.

In pursuit of this administration’s philosophy, we will continue to appeal that we buy "Made In Nigeria" goods. Like I said during the 2017 Budget presentation to the National Assembly, farmers, small and medium-sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of our economic future. They are the engine of our economic recovery and their needs underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.

Our determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains unshaken. This fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of law and due process, will not spare anybody or organ of government. It is a collective undertaking and resolve that must be seen to its logical conclusion in spite of certain distractions. The fate of our country lies partly in the success of this campaign. It will be unthinkable on my part to allow the boat of this crucial campaign promise capsize mid-stream.

I thank you for the public support for our administration’s efforts to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that the current pains are temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in gestation begin to bloom to fruition. I urge you to continue to support this administration in its effort to transform Nigeria for the good of all.

I wish you a Happy New Year, 2017.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Buhari's New Year's Message To Nigerians January 1st 2017!

My dear Compatriots,

I am happy to welcome you to the beginning of a New Year in our beloved country Nigeria.

I felicitate with you today at a time when our nation is witnessing a new and impressive turnaround in our security and socio-economic situation.

I know you will join me to, once again, congratulate the heroic and gallant efforts of our military and other security agencies on their remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism.

Following the successful capture of Sambisa Forest, spearheaded by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, we have entered a new phase in our battle against our common enemy, Boko Haram.

When we see our beloved 21 Chibok girls reuniting with their families and community for Christmas, it gives us the hope that those who are still in captivity will one day return to the loving arms of family, friends and well-wishers.

I urge all Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest security agencies, as our armed forces intensify the pursuit of fleeing terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.

Misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.


The support of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our country.

Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on December 25, 2016, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the country is imminent.

The Federal Government will spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency. I urge state governments, privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal.

Government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs. We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and punish the culprits.

In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.
The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness. Some sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory statements, while the government is painstakingly trying to find solutions to our challenges.
I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says “it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch”. Nigeria is a bunch and is more than equal to troublemakers.
I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.

The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects of our national life that unite us. We are courageous, hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of difficulties.
These are the attributes that define us and have for years confounded the pessimists who do not believe in our continued existence as a united and indivisible nation. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities for national development. We must continue to support and tolerate one another and live together as one.


We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table.

As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in. They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.

On our part, in the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, we have focused our energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are getting things right.


The agricultural revolution has begun.  Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning. I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.

As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimizing the use of local content and empowering local businesses.

In pursuit of this administration’s philosophy, we will continue to appeal that we buy "Made In Nigeria" goods. Like I said during the 2017 Budget presentation to the National Assembly, farmers, small and medium-sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of our economic future. They are the engine of our economic recovery and their needs underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.

Our determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains unshaken. This fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of law and due process, will not spare anybody or organ of government. It is a collective undertaking and resolve that must be seen to its logical conclusion in spite of certain distractions. The fate of our country lies partly in the success of this campaign. It will be unthinkable on my part to allow the boat of this crucial campaign promise capsize mid-stream.

I thank you for the public support for our administration’s efforts to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that the current pains are temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in gestation begin to bloom to fruition. I urge you to continue to support this administration in its effort to transform Nigeria for the good of all.

I wish you a Happy New Year, 2017.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Buhari's New Year's Message To Nigerians January 1st 2017!

My dear Compatriots,

I am happy to welcome you to the beginning of a New Year in our beloved country Nigeria.

I felicitate with you today at a time when our nation is witnessing a new and impressive turnaround in our security and socio-economic situation.

I know you will join me to, once again, congratulate the heroic and gallant efforts of our military and other security agencies on their remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism.

Following the successful capture of Sambisa Forest, spearheaded by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, we have entered a new phase in our battle against our common enemy, Boko Haram.

When we see our beloved 21 Chibok girls reuniting with their families and community for Christmas, it gives us the hope that those who are still in captivity will one day return to the loving arms of family, friends and well-wishers.

I urge all Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest security agencies, as our armed forces intensify the pursuit of fleeing terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.

Misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.


The support of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our country.

Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on December 25, 2016, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the country is imminent.

The Federal Government will spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency. I urge state governments, privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal.

Government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs. We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and punish the culprits.

In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.
The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness. Some sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory statements, while the government is painstakingly trying to find solutions to our challenges.
I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says “it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch”. Nigeria is a bunch and is more than equal to troublemakers.
I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.

The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects of our national life that unite us. We are courageous, hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of difficulties.
These are the attributes that define us and have for years confounded the pessimists who do not believe in our continued existence as a united and indivisible nation. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities for national development. We must continue to support and tolerate one another and live together as one.


We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table.

As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in. They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.

On our part, in the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, we have focused our energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are getting things right.


The agricultural revolution has begun.  Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning. I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.

As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimizing the use of local content and empowering local businesses.

In pursuit of this administration’s philosophy, we will continue to appeal that we buy "Made In Nigeria" goods. Like I said during the 2017 Budget presentation to the National Assembly, farmers, small and medium-sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of our economic future. They are the engine of our economic recovery and their needs underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.

Our determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains unshaken. This fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of law and due process, will not spare anybody or organ of government. It is a collective undertaking and resolve that must be seen to its logical conclusion in spite of certain distractions. The fate of our country lies partly in the success of this campaign. It will be unthinkable on my part to allow the boat of this crucial campaign promise capsize mid-stream.

I thank you for the public support for our administration’s efforts to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that the current pains are temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in gestation begin to bloom to fruition. I urge you to continue to support this administration in its effort to transform Nigeria for the good of all.

I wish you a Happy New Year, 2017.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Buhari's New Year's Message To Nigerians January 1st 2017!

My dear Compatriots,

I am happy to welcome you to the beginning of a New Year in our beloved country Nigeria.

I felicitate with you today at a time when our nation is witnessing a new and impressive turnaround in our security and socio-economic situation.

I know you will join me to, once again, congratulate the heroic and gallant efforts of our military and other security agencies on their remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism.

Following the successful capture of Sambisa Forest, spearheaded by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, we have entered a new phase in our battle against our common enemy, Boko Haram.

When we see our beloved 21 Chibok girls reuniting with their families and community for Christmas, it gives us the hope that those who are still in captivity will one day return to the loving arms of family, friends and well-wishers.

I urge all Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest security agencies, as our armed forces intensify the pursuit of fleeing terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.

Misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.


The support of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our country.

Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on December 25, 2016, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the country is imminent.

The Federal Government will spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency. I urge state governments, privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal.

Government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs. We are taking measures to correct those mistakes and punish the culprits.

In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.
The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness. Some sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory statements, while the government is painstakingly trying to find solutions to our challenges.
I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says “it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch”. Nigeria is a bunch and is more than equal to troublemakers.
I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.

The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects of our national life that unite us. We are courageous, hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of difficulties.
These are the attributes that define us and have for years confounded the pessimists who do not believe in our continued existence as a united and indivisible nation. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities for national development. We must continue to support and tolerate one another and live together as one.


We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table.

As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in. They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.

On our part, in the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, we have focused our energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are getting things right.


The agricultural revolution has begun.  Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning. I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.

As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimizing the use of local content and empowering local businesses.

In pursuit of this administration’s philosophy, we will continue to appeal that we buy "Made In Nigeria" goods. Like I said during the 2017 Budget presentation to the National Assembly, farmers, small and medium-sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of our economic future. They are the engine of our economic recovery and their needs underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.

Our determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains unshaken. This fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of law and due process, will not spare anybody or organ of government. It is a collective undertaking and resolve that must be seen to its logical conclusion in spite of certain distractions. The fate of our country lies partly in the success of this campaign. It will be unthinkable on my part to allow the boat of this crucial campaign promise capsize mid-stream.

I thank you for the public support for our administration’s efforts to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that the current pains are temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in gestation begin to bloom to fruition. I urge you to continue to support this administration in its effort to transform Nigeria for the good of all.

I wish you a Happy New Year, 2017.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mercy Aigbe receives an early birthday present

Actress Mercy Aigbe Gentry took to Instagram to show off a birthday cake she received ahead of her 37th birthday.

"Thank you @shapeyouafrica for the beautiful birthday card ..... and Big thank you to my talented , beautiful sweetheart @yewandeadekoya A.K.A Kudi Klepto for the beautiful cake!.... God bless you!..... few hours to go!..... To God be the glory!..... 2017 loading, Birthday loading!.... Yippyyyyy," she captioned the photo.

Ubi Franklin gushes about his wife in an open letter written to his son Jayden

Ubi Franklin gushes about his wife Lilian Esoro aka nurse Abigal in an open letter written to his son Jayden, which the Triple MG boss shared on his Instagram account.

''Son, witnessing your birth was not just an experience; it was a miracle (the beauty of a child being born is nothing but pure joy).
You came and melted my heart, taught me to love, taught me to forgive and see things differently. My past experiences made me one who was easily provoked but God always uses something, or someone to change people, to break them, and for me; my SON and some self discipline did.
You have also thought me to admit my mistakes and apologize for them, even when I think I’m not wrong but may have upset someone, apologize! It takes NOTHING from you but gives you EVERYTHING!!! Son, your magical smile is what I love - Dad Loves you dearly - and will do all to make you happy for my days are better because of you. I have a whole new perspective to life and have experienced another side of life all because of you. (Thank God).
Life doesn't always serve us happy cards but I truly wish I could change every bad situation for your sake and the peace of the family.
This is a letter to you my Son.
This December will be our first Christmas together and your very first Christmas here on Earth.... (Praise God).
Tomorrow is a New Year too.You’re the hero of this story and a new life with you is all because of your Mum (super Mum)....9months carrying and protecting you has led our paths to meet. Growing so fast and big now (you even make efforts to grab my phone and take selfies lol) WOW!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ“ΈπŸ‘•πŸ‘–πŸ™πŸΎ❤
To your Mum; “You are strong, doing an excellent job, and I continue to admire you deeply.”
Oh Jayden, I am so excited to see the plan that God has for your life. I already feel the magic that you will be a great son. You woke up a love in me that I didn’t realize existed. I am Proud to be your father....I have loved you since i found out about you, I loved you more when I met you on your birthday, i have loved you more each day during this past 5 months, and i will love you more for the next four months, four years, four decades, and every day after that. I will always, always love you. My heart just aches and trembles with all my love for you.
Forever and always... Your Daddy.❤️πŸ™πŸΎ
Welcome to 2017πŸ™πŸΎπŸ’ͺ🏾✌🏾❤πŸ‘†πŸΎ''



Tiwa Savage and Teebillzz make first public appearance at Stephanie's wedding (Photo)

Tiwa Savage and her estranged husband Teebillzz made first public appearance together at Stephanie Coker Aderinokun's wedding since after social media saga #stephmitide1617

FG begins payment of N30,000 monthly stipends to N-Power beneficiaries

The Federal Government has commenced the payment of N30, 000 monthly stipends for beneficiaries of the N-Power scheme, the job creation programme of the Buhari presidency, the government said.

The N-Power programme is designed to engage the massive numbers of unemployed Nigerian graduates from tertiary institutions across the country.

The Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, stating that “all successfully verified beneficiaries who have provided bank accounts are being processed for payment’’.

According to the presidential media aide, “some beneficiaries will receive their first stipends today – December 30.’’

Mr. Akande said the process of payment would continue after the New Year Public holiday, urging beneficiaries of subsequent batch of the scheme to take their virtual training seriously.

“Already, close to 50% of the 200,000 unemployed graduates selected in the first batch of N-Power job program have now been verified and being processed for December stipends’ payment.

“This process will continue and some will receive their stipends after the New Year public holiday, starting from Tuesday, 3rd of January.

“N-Power Volunteer Corps members are encouraged to take their virtual training seriously over this period,’’ Mr. Akande said.

Mr. Laolu also encouraged states who had yet to conclude the physical verification process to do so, “as that would enable the N-Power beneficiaries in those states to draw from its benefits & empowerment offers.’’

The unemployed graduates selected for the N-POWER programme are given assignments that will help to address issues in schools, hospitals and other areas in communities across the country.

A total of 150,000 out of the 200,000 selected in the first phase of the scheme would be deployed as support teachers to help address shortage of teachers in schools at the basic and secondary levels.

Another 30, 000 graduates would work as extension workers in various communities which will expectedly aid the government’s diversification agenda.

In strengthening community health services in line with the agenda of the Buhari administration, 20,000 graduates would be deployed as community health aides, under the first phase of the programme.

The Federal Government is overseeing the programme by way of providing the funding but the project is going to be implemented in the states by the state governments.

Cristiano Ronaldo picks future position for son

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo wants his six-year-old son Cristiano Jr. to follow in his footsteps and play as an attacker, rather than in a defensive position.

''Of course I want my son to be a footballer player like his daddy,'' the 31-year-old four-time Ballon d’Or winner told Egyptian channel ON E TV. ''I know it's a big challenge, it's not easy. But he will be whatever he wants, I won't make pressure. I will push him a little bit to be a football player. Not to be a goalkeeper, I want him to be a striker. But he will be whatever he wants. I'm not worried.''

Rivers: At least 40 families homeless as fire destroys makeshift estate

At least 40 families were rendered homeless as fire destroyed a popular batcher estate in Jubilee Avenue in Rumuolumeni Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Wednesday.

The fire which was said to have started at about 1a.m had destroyed property that runs into millions of naira and left resident of the area in confusion.

Some of the victims said that the cause of the inferno could not be ascertained, as at press time describing it as mysterious.

Speaking, one of the victims, Mr. Obinna Onukwu, narrated that the fire came unexpectedly and destroyed all their property.

Onukwu said: “I was sitting outside with my friends around 1a.m., when a small boy that came to buy a bottle of drink ran to call me that there is fire in my room.

“I was shocked because I knew that I did not leave candle on and the stove is not also one. I immediately remembered that I have small money in my room so I ran to collect the money, but before I got there fire has taken over the whole room.

“I tried to enter but they dragged me out. I only noticed that my body was hot and they were pouring me water. With the heat of the fire we could not remove anything from our houses.”

Presidency denies removal of Magu as EFCC boss

Contrary to reports, Ibrahim Magu, has not been relieved of his appointment as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the presidency has said.

The Guardian newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying Mr. Magu had been asked to vacate his seat by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

Although Mr. Malami could not be reached on phone, officials at the presidency denied the report.

“It is not true,” presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said on Saturday.

Mr. Adesina confirmed that Mr. Buhari had not authorised Mr. Magu’s removal.

Close aides of Mr. Magu also said no such directive was received from the Attorney General’s office.

Messrs. Magu and Malami were said to have met on Friday to finetune ‎case files on an urgent matter asked to be investigated by Mr. Buhari.

EFCC Boss Ibrahim Magu not sacked - Official

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has debunked rumours that its Acting Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, has been removed from office.

A national newspaper, the Guardian, on Saturday reported that President Muhammadu Buhari removed Magu.

“Not true”, spokesman of the commission, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said in response to an SMS enquiry by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday morning.

The rumour of Magu’s removal has also hit the social media and some traditional media websites in the early hours of Saturday.

Quoting anonymous sources, The Guardian said that Ibrahim Magu, may have finally been removed from office.

It said a source said Magu’s redeployment back to Nigerian Police Force (NPF) was to pave way for a fresh person to be presented by President Muhammadu Buhari as the nominee to head the anti-graft agency before the Senate.

It said it gathered that to make the situation look like a routine exercise, some senior Police officers would be re-deployed by the Police hierarchy to resume as conventional Police officers.

It was equally reliably gathered yesterday that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has already issued a leter to Magu on the development and directed that he hands over to the Director of Operations in the Commission.

Magu’s nomination was recently rejected by the Senate following allegation of graft levelled against him by the Department of State Security Service (DSS).

The Senate had rejected the nomination of Mr Ibrahim Magu as Substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja.

Abdullahi said that the rejection of Magu’s nomination was based on security reports available to the senate.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari will be communicated accordingly.

“The Senate wishes to inform the general public that based on security reports available to the senate, it cannot proceed and confirm the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the Executive Chairman of EFCC.

“Accordingly, the Senate hereby rejects the said nomination and has returned it to Mr President for further action,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that nomination of other members of the commission sent for confirmation was also not confirmed at plenary.

The committee chairman declined further comments on the screening of the nominees.

The Senate had at the resumption of plenary gone into a two hour executive session with Magu but the meeting ended in a deadlock.

NAN recalls that the Presidency had in July written the Senate, seeking the screening and confirmation of Magu as Substantive Chairman of EFCC.

Buhari appointed Magu Acting Chairman of the commission after the removal of Mr Ibrahim Lamorde on Nov. 9, 2015.

Before his appointment as the acting chairman, Magu was the Head of Economic Governance Unit of the commission.

NAN

Photos of Buhari at Guards Brigade Regimental dinner night in Abuja

President Buhari attends Guards Brigade Regimental Dinner Night at the Guards Brigade Scorpion Mess Abuja on 30th December, 2016.








Putin refuses to expel US diplomats, Trump applauds

President-elect Donald Trump praised President Vladimir Putin for refraining from tit-for-tat expulsions of Americans in response to US punitive measures over alleged Russian interference in the November election.

Putin's decision came despite the foreign ministry asking him to send home 35 US diplomats after President Barack Obama had expelled the same number of Russian staff.

Trump's intervention -- in a tweet -- however illustrated the shifting political tide in Washington, barely three weeks before the Republican is due to succeed Obama at the White House.

"Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!" the incoming US president wrote.

Russia's embassy in Washington quickly retweeted the comment, which Trump pinned so it would appear at the top of his feed for several hours.

Trump's tweet enraged his Democratic foes as well as some members of his own Republican Party.

"@realDonaldTrump alternates between embracing Russian subversion & downplaying it, but his support for Putin is constant. We must know why," wrote Evan McMullin, who ran as an independent presidential candidate after serving as policy director for the House Republican Conference.

Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote: "Our ENTIRE cyber intel community, best in world btw, agrees that this guy tried to mess in our election & the Russians are RT TrumpPutin love."

The alleged hacking of the US presidential election in November outraged Obama, culminating in the expulsions and other sanctions.

- Pinning hopes on Trump -

But outlining why he would not retaliate, Putin cited Trump's imminent accession.

"We will not expel anyone," Putin said in a statement, also inviting children of US diplomats to a holiday party at the Kremlin.

Instead, Moscow will plan its next steps "based on the policies pursued by the administration of president Donald Trump," while warning that the Kremlin reserves the right to respond.

The Russian leader chided the outgoing Obama for "unfriendly steps" amounting to "a provocation aimed at further undermining Russian-American relations."

Putin's confirmed Moscow is pinning its hopes on Trump to help rebuild ties -- which have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War -- when he takes office next month.

Putin ended his statement on the sanctions by wishing Obama and Trump a Happy New Year, separately congratulating the US president-elect in a New Year message.

Prior to Trump's remarks, a State Department official's limited response illustrated the gulf between the Obama administration and the soon to be inaugurated new US president.

"We have seen President Putin's remarks. We have nothing further to add," the official said.

Obama on Thursday unleashed a barrage of sanctions against Russia over alleged cyberattacks aimed at tilting the November election in Trump's favour.

The move follows years of bad blood with Putin that had seen Washington slap sanctions on Moscow over its behavior in Ukraine and Syria.

In response to the purported hacks, dubbed "Grizzly Steppe" by US officials, Obama announced penalties against Russia's military and domestic intelligence agencies, and gave the 35 suspected "intelligence operatives" 72 hours to leave.

The Kremlin said it was sending a special plane to fly diplomats and their families from the United States, following reports they are not able to purchase plane tickets on such short notice.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russian news agencies that 96 people would be leaving the US.

US intelligence has concluded that the Kremlin ordered a hack-and-release of Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton campaign staff emails in a bid to put Trump in the Oval Office.

Moscow has repeatedly denied the hacking allegations.

- 'Americans should be alarmed' -

Trump, too, has questioned whether Russia tipped the electoral scale, painting Obama's accusations as a thinly veiled effort by a Democratic president to cover up for his party's loss.

Trump, however, has said he will meet with intelligence leaders next week for a briefing.

Obama -- who has also clashed with Trump over his Israel policy in recent days -- pointedly stated that "all Americans should be alarmed by Russia's actions."

It remains unclear whether Trump will move to roll back the sanctions. Leading Republican lawmakers have publicly warned him to stay tough on Putin.

Beyond the election row, Obama also linked the fresh sanctions to harassment of US diplomats in Moscow, which Washington described as "unprecedented" in the post-Cold War era.

US officials, meanwhile, played down the impact sanctions against the GRU and the FSB could have on intelligence-sharing on issues like counterterrorism, saying cooperation was already limited.

Both agencies will face penalties, as will GRU agency chief Igor Korobov and three of his deputies.

In addition, the US Treasury hit two individuals, Evgeniy Bogachev and Aleksey Belan, with sanctions for "involvement in malicious cyber-enabled activities."

The sanctions freeze any assets they may have in the United States and block US companies from doing business with them.

The US government is also declassifying technical information on Russian cyber activity to help companies defend against future attacks.

AFP

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