Friday, 24 November 2017
Items filtered by date: March 2017

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Local lenders have opposed a proposal by Etisalat Nigeria to convert part of the $1.2 billion loan into naira. Rather, the lenders want its parent, Abu Dhabi telecoms group Etisalat, and its shareholders to recapitalise the telco, it was gathered yesterday.

A source privy to the negotiations said the seven-year syndicated loan, on which the telco defaulted in payment schedule, has a dollar portion of $235 million which the carrier wants to convert into naira to overcome chronic foreign exchange (forex) crunch at the interbank market.

“Etisalat is asking for us to convert the dollar component to naira but banks don’t want that option and have told them to talk to their parent to settle the loan,” Reuters quoted a banking source as saying. The source said the regulators, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which had waded into theimpasse and prevented a possible takeover of Etisalat Nigeria are favourably disposed to the  naira conversion idea.

Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs at Etisalat, Ibrahim Dikko, said he would not be able to give update about the outcome of discuissions with the lenders. He promised to do that today.

The UAE’s Etisalat own 45 per cent of Etisalat Nigeria, while Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala owns 40 per cent of the company 

This meeting came about after the CBN and NCC agreed with local banks to prevent Etisalat Nigeria from going into receivership.

Global crash in oil prices has seen the country grappling with forex shortage since oil is the country’s major forex earner. The economy slipped into a recession last year for the first time in 25-years.

Most of the 13 lenders involved in the loan syndication had raised dollars abroad to participate, meaning that further naira weakness would see them receive fewer dollars.

The currency had lost half of its value since the loan, which matures in 2020, was made. Interest is due monthly and the next principal payment is due in May, the source said.

Etisalat, which generates 3.7 per cent of its revenues from the Nigerian business, has questioned the rationale of investing more in it and may sell its stake, sources say.

Etisalat had written down the value of Etisalat Nigeria last year to $50 million due to naira weakness, Moody’s said in a note, adding that the default at the affiliate company did not affect the parent’s credit profile.

Etisalat owes GT Bank N42 billion, and Access Bank N40 billion. It also owed Fidelity Bank N17.5 billion, the bank’s investor relations team told Reuters.

 

 
Published in Headliners

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: Ibrahim Magu’s confirmation for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman was rejected again yesterday – no thanks to some governors, senators and high-profile suspects.

Magu’s confirmation was first rejected on December 15, 2016.

The governors were said to have been angry with Magu over the ongoing probe of the alleged diversion of N19 billion from the London-Paris Club loan refund.

Seven governors have been implicated in the scandal.

Besides, some senators resolved to save their colleagues following Magu’s refusal to make a commitment that he will “find solutions” to the ongoing investigation and trial of 10 members of the Upper Chamber.

Some of the 10 senators, led by a former governor from the Northeast, specifically demanded the termination of their trial during a meeting with Magu.

The Acting EFCC chairman however insisted that the law must take its course, a source, who pleaded not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the matter, told The Nation.

Some high profile suspects were said to have wielded influence to frustrate Magu’s confirmation “to pay him back in his own coin”.

According to the source, Magu’s rejection was the product of “conspiracy of aggrieved forces”.

It was learnt that the N19billion  was deducted from the N388.304billion, which was part of the N522.74 billion released to 35 states as refund of over-deductions on the London-Paris Club loans.

Following protests by states against over deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of the first tranche to states as refund pending a reconciliation of records.

 

Each state was entitled to a cap of N14.5 billion being 25% of the amounts claimed.

But EFCC through intelligence intercepted how N19billion was diverted to Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) accounts and some private accounts.

A source said: “All attempts to prevail on Magu to halt the investigation failed and the governors have no choice than to engage in lobbying to truncate the confirmation.

“Although a governor from the Northeast did his best to persuade his colleagues to spare Magu, some of the governors vowed not to take the risk.

“At a point, the governors sent emissaries to the Acting EFCC chairman, including some government officials, but he did not shift ground.

“The position of the governors was that the Presidency was in the picture of the deductions from the loan refunds but the EFCC’s probe was seen as an embarrassment to them.

“Before Magu goes after them, they decided to cut him to size. These governors found willing partners in some National Assembly leaders who were implicated in the loan refund.”

One of the emissaries sent by the governors to Magu was quoted as saying: “This chap almost secured confirmation but he bungled it by probing the loan refund.

“Each time a commitment was secured from him, the more he has been intensifying investigation of the N19billion. We told him it was a sensitive case.”

“A businessman reportedly interceded for Magu, urging the Senate leadership to confirm him. But the businessman later discovered that EFCC was investigating him in connection with the loan refund, The Nation learnt.

“So, the governors refused to spare any efforts to lobby their senators to reject Magu. And don’t forget that most of these governors are godfathers of many senators. Again, 2019 is around the corner, no senator wants to take a bet on Magu and lose the opportunity of returning to the Red Chamber in the next general election,” the source said.

Most of the senators were displeased that the EFCC was either investigating or putting more than 10 of their colleagues on trial.

A highly-placed source said: “The Senate has had its grudges against Magu since the invitation of the wife of the President of the Senate for interrogation. The senators saw it as a desecration of the chamber.

“Despite the fact that the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has purportedly forgiven Saraki, the questioning of his wife has been a lingering memory. There are always fears that Magu could be more drastic in his action if confirmed.

”And the fears came to fore during the lobbying for confirmation when the Acting EFCC chairman refused to yield ground.  Magu and a few others met with some of the Senators, led by a former governor from the Northeast, who demanded to know what EFCC will do on their cases.”

Magu was said to have told the lawmakers that the law will take its course.

He was quoted as saying: “I cannot find solutions to these cases.”

Since that day, the hurdles against his confirmation became higher.

“The list of those who met Magu where the request was tabled is an open secret,” the source said.

He went on: “The PDP senators did not mince words that the Acting EFCC chairman will not be confirmed because of alleged tilting of investigation towards opposition leaders. The ongoing subtle probe of the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio and his wife by the EFCC was considered as an affront after Magu had lobbied the PDP Caucus.

“Although two of the PDP senators met with Magu on Tuesday to assure him of likely clearance but the game plan changed overnight when the caucus took a position against Magu.”

Another source fingered some high profile suspects of the EFCC, including some bank chiefs, as those behind Magu’s travails.

The source added: “The Acting EFCC chairman stepped on toes of these high-profile suspects, who in cahoots with their associates and sympathisers, lobbied senators to halt what one of them described as ‘Magu’s hurricane’. These suspects have the wherewithal to fight Magu to a standstill.

“The problem with Magu is that he has no godfather to fight his cause. And Senate politics is about influence wielding, building contacts and high-wire relationship.

“There were rumours that some suspects budgeted about N2.2billion to stop Magu’s confirmation. The EFCC stumbled on this information but it was yet to trace any transaction linked to the slush budget. The agency was suspecting under-the-table vote.”

Also yesterday, it was learnt that “the crisis of confidence within the kitchen cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari” affected Magu’s confirmation.

A source in government said: “Magu has limited contacts in government. His sympathisers are President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the President’s wife, Hajiya Aisha Buhari,  the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Monguno and the Chairman of PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay, among others.

“Unfortunately, the NSA who recommended him for the job is facing challenges with some members of the kitchen cabinet who see Magu as doing the bidding of his benefactor.

Asked of the role of the Department of State Services (DSS), the source said: “I think the service was uncomfortable with lack of inter-agency cooperation between it and the EFCC.

“There was a time the DSS advised Magu to stay action on an operation in the Southsouth, but the EFCC went ahead. It led to mutual suspicion.

“The closeness of Magu to the NSA, who had issues with DSS,  aggravated the proxy war, which resulted in two damning reports against Magu. The Acting EFCC chairman is a victim of power play  in the kitchen cabinet.”

Published in Business and Economy
Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:36

KODUGA: The DSS Report that nailed Magu

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Exactly three months after they declined to confirm Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), The Senate yesterday affirmed their December 15, last year’s position on the EFCC’s acting chairman. The Red Chamber relied on three-paragraph memo from the Department of State Services (DSS) dated March 14, affirming the Services’ earlier report on Magu. Below is the Report:

In August 2008, following a search at his residence during the tenure of Farida Waziri (AIG/rtd) as the commission’s chairman, some sensitive EFCC documents which were not supposed to be at his disposal were discovered. He was subsequently redeployed to the police after days of detention and later suspended from the Force.

In December 2010, the Police Service Commission (PSC) found Magu guilty of “Action prejudicial to state security, withholding of EFCC files, sabotage, unauthorised removal of EFCC files and acts unbecoming of a police officer,” and awarded him severe reprimand as punishment.

Notwithstanding, sequel to the appointment of Ibrahim Lamorde as Chairman of the EFCC in 2011, he made the return of Magu to the EFCC a top priority. Both men had worked together at the commission when Lamorde served as Head of Operations of the agency. Magu remained a top official of the commission until he was appointed to succeed Lamorde.

Magu is currently occupying a residence rented for N40 million, at N20 million per annum. This accommodation was not paid for from the commission’s finances but by one Umar Mohammed (Air Commodore/rtd), a questionable businessman and ally of subject who has subsequently been arrested by this service. For the furnishing of the residence, Mohammed enlisted the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to award a contract to Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Mohammed to lavishly furnish the residence at the cost of N43 million.

Investigations show that the Acting EFCC chairman regularly embarks on official and private trips through a private carrier, Easyjet, owned by Mohammed. In one of such trips, Magu flew to Maiduguri, alongside Mohammed and a third generation bank chief, who was being investigated by the commission over complicity in funds allegedly stolen by the immediate past Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison- Madueke.

Furthermore, the EFCC boss has so far maintained a high profile lifestyle. This is exemplified by his preference for First Class air travels. On 24th June, 2016, he flew Emirate Airlines’ First Class to Saudi Arabia to perform the Lesser Hajj at the cost of N2, 990,196. This is in spite of Mr. President’s directive to all public servants to fly Economy Class.

Investigation also revealed that Magu parades a twin personality. At one level, he is the czar who has no friends, no favourites and is ready to fight corruption to a standstill. However, with a key friend in the person of Umar Mohammed (Air Commodore/rtd), a controversial businessman, he has betrayed the confidence reposed in him by the present administration.

Whereas Magu portrays himself as very secretive, he has fostered a mutually beneficial relationship with Mohammed who, by his confession, approaches ‘clients’ for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns. This was facilitated with official secrets divulged by Magu and from which dealings he is believed to have been drawing considerable benefits.

This was evidenced by the number of official and classified documents he made available to his associates, especially Mohammed. After a search of Mohammed’s premises, a forged letter of the Office of the Vice President, dated 20th May, 2016, was recovered. The letter was a fictitious investigation report from Vice President to Mr. President, requesting for approval to commence further probe into a matter allegedly involving Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum. Attached to the letter were two EFCC letters dated 13th April, 2016, and another 24th March, 2016, addressed to the vice president being investigation reports on the activities of Emmanuel Kachikwu and his brother Dumebi Kachikwu. Similarly recovered during the search were information on assets and personal details of Kachikwu.

Also, following the arrest of three former Airforce chiefs by EFCC, namely, Alex Badeh, Umar and Adesola Amosu from whom huge sums of money and property were recovered, Umar and Badeh were arraigned in court. It was only after the arrest of Mohammed by this service that the EFCC hurriedly arraigned Amosu. Mohammed later confessed that he never wanted Amosu tried, describing him as his former boss and he saw in Magu, a willing accomplice.

Furthermore, findings revealed that in a bid to settle some personal scores, subject placed one Stanley Inye Lawson on a Security Watch Action, while in actual fact, Lawson was working in the interest of the Federal Government. However, the action was later expunged following the discovery that Lawson was falsely accused by Magu for personal reasons.

The circumstances surrounding Magu’s return to EFCC at the instance of the former chairman, Lamorde, and their close working relationship ever since is a clear indication of his culpability in the allegations of corrupt tendencies of the Lamorde-led EFCC.

To cover his tracks, Magu uses only his police cronies to execute operations. This, coupled with discoveries that such police cronies have acquired a lot of landed property, lends credence to the questions about his integrity.

In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.

Published in Headliners

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed March 23 to rule on the admissibility of a list of beneficiaries of funds in the ongoing trial of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dele Belgore charged with money laundering. Belgore is charged alongside a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman and a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, who is said to be at large.

They were first arraigned in February but were subsequently re-arraigned on March 13, following the amendment of the charges to include the name of Allison-Madueke. They had pleaded not guilty to the charges and were allowed to continue on their earlier bail terms. At the last adjourned date, March 13, a first prosecution witness, Mr Timothy Olaobaju, was led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

He had told the court that Belgore and Sulaiman were among the beneficiaries of the sum of 115 million dollars deposited in the account of Allison-Madueke. The witness told the court that Belgore and Sulaiman jointly received N450million on March 27, 2015. When trial resumed on Tuesday, the prosecution sought to tender in evidence, a document containing a comprehensive list of beneficiaries of Diezani’s funds in the 36 states of the federation. This move by prosecution was however opposed by Sulaiman’s counsel, Mr Olatunji Ayanlaja (SAN), who argued that the document did not comply with the provisions of Section 84 of the Evidence Act. He urged the court to reject same. In response, the prosecution maintained that the document had substantially satisfied the conditions spelt out in Section 84 of the Evidence Act, and urged the court to admit it. After entertaining arguments from both parties, Justice Aikawa deferred his ruling till March 23.

Meanwhile, the defence counsel commenced cross-examination of the first prosecution witness. Under cross-examination by Belgore’s lawyer, Chief Ebun Shofunde (SAN), the witness said that the N450million received by Belgore and Sulaiman was brought in a bullion van from the CBN. On the denomination of the currencies, the witness replied, “I can’t remember vividly but I remember there were N1, 000 and N500 bills.’’ He said that the money was offloaded from the bullion van into the bank’s loading bay where it was manually counted.

When Shofunde suggested to him that it took two days to count the money, the witness disagreed, saying as a professional banker “I can count N1 billion in 20 minutes.” The witness said that although the bank was ready to deliver the money to Belgore and Sulaiman on March 26, 2015 when it arrived from the CBN, the process was delayed by failure of Sulaiman to release his Identification Card. He added that the transaction was captured on the CCTV camera mounted in the bank.

Shofunde said, “I suggest to you that none of the defendants collected one kobo out of the N450 million,” the witness answered, “that is not true”. Shofunde suggested to him that it was different individuals that came to the bank on March 27, 2015 to sign and collect portions of the N450million, the witness also retorted: “That is not true”. In the charge, Sulaiman, a professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Abuja, and Belgore, a former governorship aspirant in Kwara, were accused of conspiracy to commit the offence on March 27, 2015. They were accused of making cash transaction of N450 million on March 27, 2015 without going through any financial institution.

The EFCC claimed that the accused paid N50million to one Sheriff Shagaya. The EFCC said the cash sum was above the lawful threshold permitted by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. The court will again resume proceedings on March 23.


Published in Business and Economy

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Who owns the N49 million “crispy notes of N200 and N50 denominations” abandoned at the Kaduna International Airport?
This is the puzzle the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is trying to resolve. The EFCC found the cash on Monday night, packed in sacks.

A man believed to be the owner ran away before EFCC operatives could question him.
The cash was discovered by EFCC Zonal Office in Kaduna in five large black 150kg sacks during routine baggage screening at the airport.

A top source in the commission said: “Upon careful scrutiny of the sacks, it was discovered that they contained fresh crispy naira notes of N200 denomination in 200 bundles totaling N40million and N50 denomination in 180 bundles totaling N9million.

“The bundles were all sealed, purportedly emanating from the Nigerian Security and Minting Company (MSPMC) as seen in the label on the packs.
“The five sacks were sighted unattended and without tags containing fresh bulk items suspected to be money from the aroma perceived from the sacks.
“The owner of the money later showed up but could not state the exact money in the sacks or present any document authenticating the genesis of the monies.

“However, his inability to give any concrete explanation made him become uncomfortable and he disappeared before the arrival of EFCC operatives.”
Another source said the EFCC was working on clues that the fleeing suspect might be a courier for a syndicate.

“We will get to the root of this crime. There is a way we can collaborate with some agencies to trace the source of the N49million.
“We will also deploy forensic equipment and retrieve CCTV footage at the airport to identify the suspect,” the source said, pleading not to be named so as not to jeopardise the investigation.

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SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: A personnel of the Nigerian Air Force has killed his girlfriend, who is also an Air Force personnel, in a fit of rage.

The Air Force man was identified as Kalu B.A. while the woman was identified as Oladipupo Solape.

The incident, which occurred at the Air Force Base in Makurdi, Benue State, is under investigation.

The PUNCH reports that the Public Relations Officer at the base, Wing Commander Emmanuel Iheoma, confirmed the incident, saying that it was under investigation and that more details would be provided in due course.

It was gathered that the killer airman has been arrested and his blood sample taken. He is in the custody of the Air Police in Makurdi.

Friends of the female Air Force woman, Oladipupo Solape, who is known as Shomzy Shomzy to her colleagues, have taken to the social media to express their shock over the incident and mourn her.

“R.I.P Shomzy Shomzy your death is some thing I can’t forget so easily because your military plans is still in your mind. Well I can’t continue crying my dear, all I have to do is to let go of what I can’t change,” one of her friends wrote on Facebook.

Sources said the incident occurred on Sunday morning after the jealous lover accused her of double dating.

The slain personnel reportedly hailed from Badagry and was murdered two weeks after celebrating her birthday.

Published in Business and Economy

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: The new strategy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to meet all legal demand for foreign exchange (Forex) has led Money Deposit Banks to contend with expending all the dollars in their possession.

A check by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja showed that the banks had cleared all backlog of demands for foreign currencies for basic travel allowance, school fees and medicals.

A source in the United Bank for Africa, told NAN that UBA had so much dollars that the bank’s marketers had been asked to encourage customers to request for foreign currencies.

The source said that the bank wanted to avoid a situation where it was forced to return excess Forex to the CBN.

It explained that doing so would force the CBN to reduce the quantity of Forex it sold to banks.

Another source from First Bank said following the CBN intervention, the bank had succeeded in clearing all pending requests for Forex as far back as September, 2016.

Also, a source in Guaranty Trust Bank commended the decision of the CBN to flood the market with Forex, thereby allowing the banks to meet legitimate demands from its customers.

It was also gathered from Heritage Bank that prior to now, the bank published the names of individuals and companies it disbursed Forex to in a page of any particular newspaper.

“Right now, we take two or three pages in the newspaper to publish names of legitimate individuals and companies that we disbursed Forex to.

“We have more than enough foreign exchange to meet the request of our customers for school fees and others,” s0NAN was told.

In a data released by the CBN, the apex bank, within three weeks, injected more than 1.4 billion dollars for both wholesale and retail intervention into the interbank Forex market. (NAN)

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SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: FORMER Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has stated that the late former governor of Mid-West Region, Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, placed himself in the nation’s history long before his death with his deeds, pointing out that “Dr Ogbemudia immortalised himself.”

Governor Oshiomhole said beyond any honour anyone can do the late Dr Ogbemudia, the late Bendel State governor laid a solid foundation for tea development of the present Edo and Delta states and that generations to come will hear and read about him.

Comrade Oshiomhole stated this when he paid a condolence visit on the amply of the Ogbemudia at their Benin residence on Saturday.

Oshiomhole, who was joined by his former deputy, Hon Pius Odubu, and others, said he could not resist fraternising with Dr Ogbemudia despite their political differences because of his achievements and passion for development.

In his condolence, Oshiomhole says, “our great leader and father, we are sad that you have gone at this time. The truth is that your name lives in our hearts forever.

“You immortalised yourself through the solid foundation you laid for our great state. May your gentle soul rest in peace.”

He was received by eldest son of Dr Ogbemudia, Samuel Ogbemudia Jnr, and wife of the deceased, Mrs Clara Ogbemudia.

He said, “I have drawn heavily and shamelessly from his fountain of knowledge. It is not flattering to say that God sent Ogbemudia to lay a foundation for us.

“One will appreciate this by the time one realises that as are the time he laid this solid foundation, some of his counterparts felt they had no obligation to the people of their states as a military administrator.

“What Ogbemudia did flew from a genuine conviction that this part of the world deserved the very best.

“I’m sure therefore at this hour of grief that we must find sufficient consolation from the fact that our leader immortalised himself.

“Cross tribunal length and breadth of Edo and Delta states, you will find people pointing at roads done by Ogbemudia. Those yet unborn will hear and read about his story in the years ahead.

“I’m happy because he left without being a partisan politician. If what men do defines their places after departure, I have joined doubt that our father is resting in heaven.

“I pray to God for the children and family to find favour from the men and women theoretical father impacted in.”

 

Published in Business and Economy

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: FORMER Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has stated that the late former governor of Mid-West Region, Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, placed himself in the nation’s history long before his death with his deeds, pointing out that “Dr Ogbemudia immortalised himself.”

Governor Oshiomhole said beyond any honour anyone can do the late Dr Ogbemudia, the late Bendel State governor laid a solid foundation for tea development of the present Edo and Delta states and that generations to come will hear and read about him.

Comrade Oshiomhole stated this when he paid a condolence visit on the amply of the Ogbemudia at their Benin residence on Saturday.

Oshiomhole, who was joined by his former deputy, Hon Pius Odubu, and others, said he could not resist fraternising with Dr Ogbemudia despite their political differences because of his achievements and passion for development.

In his condolence, Oshiomhole says, “our great leader and father, we are sad that you have gone at this time. The truth is that your name lives in our hearts forever.

“You immortalised yourself through the solid foundation you laid for our great state. May your gentle soul rest in peace.”

He was received by eldest son of Dr Ogbemudia, Samuel Ogbemudia Jnr, and wife of the deceased, Mrs Clara Ogbemudia.

He said, “I have drawn heavily and shamelessly from his fountain of knowledge. It is not flattering to say that God sent Ogbemudia to lay a foundation for us.

“One will appreciate this by the time one realises that as are the time he laid this solid foundation, some of his counterparts felt they had no obligation to the people of their states as a military administrator.

“What Ogbemudia did flew from a genuine conviction that this part of the world deserved the very best.

“I’m sure therefore at this hour of grief that we must find sufficient consolation from the fact that our leader immortalised himself.

“Cross tribunal length and breadth of Edo and Delta states, you will find people pointing at roads done by Ogbemudia. Those yet unborn will hear and read about his story in the years ahead.

“I’m happy because he left without being a partisan politician. If what men do defines their places after departure, I have joined doubt that our father is resting in heaven.

“I pray to God for the children and family to find favour from the men and women theoretical father impacted in.”

 

Published in Business and Economy

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, who returned to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday morning, will resume duties on Monday, just as he has revealed that he was critically ill and underwent blood transfusion for the first time in his life while he was in the United Kingdom.

The president is to transmit a letter to the National Assembly on Monday to inform the legislature of his return from vacation.

The transmission of the letter will signal his readiness to resume work.

His spokesman, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a tweet on his official handle on Friday.

“PMB will Monday transmit a letter to the National Assembly on his return to the country. That makes his return to work formal and constitutional,” he tweeted.

On his arrival, Buhari told a welcome party led by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo that he had never felt so sick in his life, not even during his military days which were more hectic.

The president, who cautioned against self drug administration, was grateful that he received the best of treatment and was feeling much better and ready to meet the aspirations of Nigerians.

He said: “I am very conscious of the economy. I have rested as much as humanly possible. I have received, I think, the best of treatment I could receive.

“I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man, not even during the  military days  which were hectic.

“ I found out that technology is moving so fast.

“Blood transfusions, going to the laboratories, and so on and so forth. But I am very pleased that we, when I say we, I mean the government and the people all over are trying to keep pace with technology.

“I couldn’t recall when last I had blood transfusion, I couldn’t recall honestly.

“I think one of the terrible things we do is self drug administration. We have to trust our doctors more.

“Where I visited, they only take drugs when it is absolutely necessary. They don’t just swallow everything.

“Having said that, I am pleased that I am back. I am pleased that the vice president enjoyed this break and he has to do much more this time around.”

Buhari disclosed that he would be returning to London to do follow ups on his treatment and thanked Nigerians for praying for him.

He observed that their prayers for him was a demonstration of their support for government programmes despite the prevailing hard times.

According to him, “I am deeply grateful to all Nigerians, Muslims and Christians alike who have prayed and are still praying for my good health.

“This is a testimony that in spite of the hardship being experienced, Nigerians are supportive of the government in its efforts at tackling the country’s challenges.

“The best way for me to pay you all is to rededicate myself to serving you, protecting your interest and keeping your trust. I thank you very much.

“I feel much better now.  All I will need is to do further follow ups within some weeks.”

The president admonished Nigerians to refrain from sending delegations to Abuja to visit him but rather continue in their prayers for him.

“Rather than sending delegations to Abuja to welcome me, may I appeal to our people to continue to pray for the country’s unity, progress and prosperity. I thank you very much and may God bless our country,” he said.

The president stated that he arrived on a weekend so that he could continue to rest while Osinbajo would continue his work.

He added:”Youth and intellect are squarely behind him, age and purely military experience is behind me.

“Continue to do the work, Nigeria will continue whether we are here or not. The most important advice I have for Nigerians is that we take the issue of education  very seriously. We must do more on education.

“I deliberately came back towards the weekend, so that the vice president will continue with his work  and I will continue to rest.”

In his address of welcome to the president, Osinbajo conceded that he had a challenging time during the period the president was away because he went around in “borrowed robes.”

He thanked the president for the confidence reposed in him which led to the transfer of power to him as acting president.

The vice president observed that it was a demonstration of Buhari’s belief in the system of government operated by the country.

He expressed gratitude to God for enabling the president return to the country “hale and hearty.”

Osinbajo said: “Mr President, again on behalf of the Federal Executive Council, we welcome you back home. We are very grateful to God that you are back home, hale and hearty. Mr President, I must say that personally, the past few days have been very interesting.

“First,  I must say that I want to thank you very much for the confidence reposed in me by handing over the reins of government to me in the capacity of acting president.

“I think more important is that you demonstrated the belief in our system which is even more important than anything else.

“The constitution which we all swore to is important because it outlines the code of conduct. I want to say not only am I, but I am sure the entire nation is grateful to you.

“For me, I must say that it has been an interesting period going around the nation maybe because I have been going around in borrowed robes. I must say I had a very interesting and challenging time but above all, the president gave us the good support.”

Buhari’s return: APC, Fayose trade words

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State and the state governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose, have exchanged verbal attacks over Friday’s return of President Buhari.

Ekiti APC, in a statement on Friday, congratulated the president for his return and taunted Fayose and also accused him of wishing President Buhari death.

But Governor Fayose denied wishing the President dead and even called for corporate prayers for the president’s quick and full recovery so that he can take Nigeria out of the present economic and development challenges.

Speaking through its state Publicity Secretary, Mr Taiwo Olatunbosun, the APC expressed delight over President Buhari’s successful medical trip to London.

It said Buhari’s return had vindicated its claim that the President was not terminally ill as being portrayed in some quarters opposed to the anti-corruption war of the APC-led Federal Government.

The party said: “With the President’s safe return after failure of Fayose’s death wish for him. The governor has been put to shame with Buhari’s arrival hale and hearty on Friday.

“We also commend the Presidency and the President for not dignifying Fayose with a response when he cynically requested Buhari to call him to prove that he was alive,” Olatunbosun said.

Reacting, Governor Fayose said: “Whether they say shame on us or they abuse me, goodluck to the President’s loyalists and APC. Nobody would wish President Buhari dead.

“What is important is that for the President to stay away for that long, anybody would feel concerned about it. So, we pray that may God give him the strength to do his job. He has a job to do, so we will continue to pray for him to be well to fix the economy, put food on our table, we cannot task a sick man on these challenges, we will continue to pray for him to be well and bring the  Dollar back to N200 or less.

“We don’t have power over life and we have to continue to thank God that the President is alive, strong and back.

“Anybody can be sick whether you are young or old. What is important is that God should give him the strength to be alive and do what we expect him to do for our country. I just leant that he said he would be going back in a few weeks’ time we have to keep our fingers crossed.”

Explainng his earlier critical position further he said: “There is no doubt that age is not on his side like every other person and there are many health challenges that comes with aging. What is best is that we continue to pray for him because the Holy books say we should pray for our leaders in authority.”

Governor Fayose, who spoke to newsmen while signing a condolence registrar in honour of  late General Robert Adeyinka Adebayo also spoke about the plan of the state to honour Adebayo but denied declaring a public holiday in his honour saying: “We are not declaring public holidays for mourning him(General Adebayo) but that does not mean we are not touched by his demise.

“At some point, we have to go, but the legacy that is left behind would leave on. His was a life worthy of celebration. He has left so many landmarks beyond our state and in the whole of the Western region.

“Also, he left behind worthy sons and daughters that Ekiti is proud of. So, he has done well and rather than mourning, we should celebrate such a man for a life well-spent.

“We are thinking and planning towards celebrating him in a grand way and in due time, we will roll it out, “ he said.

 

Atiku welcomes Buhari home, urges unity

Former vice president and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar expressed joy and relief at the return of President Buhari from the United Kingdom.

In a statement released in Abuja on Friday, by his media office, the former vice president said Buhari’s safe return was a happy moment for him not only as a fellow party member, but also as a Nigerian that had tremendous goodwill and best wishes for the president.

According to the Turakin Adamawa, the return of the president at this time would put to an end to the uncertainty and the conspiracy theories that attended his 50 days absence.

 

Buhari’s return: Nigeria’s hope for greatness rekindled —Oyo APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State has described the return of President Buhari to the country on Friday, after his vacation in London, as a divine reassurance that the mission to reinvent Nigeria and make it a great nation would be achieved after all.

Reacting to the president’s arrival, the Oyo APC said in a statement by its state Chairman, Chief Akin Oke, on Friday, in Ibadan, that President Buhari remained undeterred in his mission to restore the country to the path of greatness.

“In Oyo State chapter of the APC, we have always believed in the sincerity, capability and competence of Mr President and this was why our state gave him the largest number of votes in all the 17 southern states in the 2015 general election.

“So far, we have not regretted our contribution to his victory at the poll and we will not only continue to identify with his policies and programmes, but we will also pray for his success since it is a general belief that he is on a rescue mission,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO), has described President Buhari’s return to the country after 50 days of medical trip, as a prayer answered by almighty Allah.

NACOMYO’s National President, Alhaji Kama’ldeen Akintunde, in a statement, said that Nigerians, individually and collectively prayed for the restoration of Mr. President’s health.

The body, therefore, urged him to settle down on time and continue with the work of nation building, especially the reinvigoration of the ailing economy and other challenges confronting the country.

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