Speaking the Nations Mind

Presidential Villa Roundup For Feb. 5 To Feb. 10


On Monday, February 5, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed Executive Order 5 for the planning and execution of projects, promotion of Nigerian content in contracts and science and technology.

The Executive Order, which gives preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007, is expected to promote the application of science, technology and invocation towards achieving the nation’s development goals across all sectors of the economy.

The President also signed the instruments of ratification of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Algeria, Republic of Congo, China, Qatar and Singapore.

The BASA is expected to improve aviation links between Nigeria and the respective countries.

Earlier, on the first working day of the week, the President received the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, Nigerian-born, and Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon.

The Anglican cleric is also the Chairman of Kaduna State Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

No official release or news report emerged after the meeting.

Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, chaired a meeting of the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, the first for the year 2018.

The council, which comprised of leading private sector players and key policy makers in the economy, assessed the work it did in 2017 especially the implementation of some of its recommendation as it affect the economy.

Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo
Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, President Buhari embarked on a one-day working visit to Nasarawa State.

While in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa, the President commissioned a Special Needs School built by the State Government in Lafia, an Electronic Library, a Fire service facility and township road.

The President also commissioned a model Primary Healthcare Centre and Karu International Market.

The President delivered a keynote speech at the commissioning of Comprehensive Special School where he reiterated his directive on security operatives across the country to arrest and prosecute anybody found carrying illegal arms and ammunition.

A statement issued by the President’s spokesperson shortly before he left Abuja for Lafia, said President Buhari has designated a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to lead consultation, reconciliation and confidence-building efforts of all aggrieved party members across the country.

Also on Tuesday the Vice President inaugurated the Core Working Group for the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), Focus Labs which is a policy or project implementation devise.

He said the Labs operate by bringing together all private and public sector officials necessary to achieve the specific policy or project objectives, in this case the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, in order to achieve the objective of over 7% growth plus exponential job creation by 2020.

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, President Buhari presided over the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in the State House.

President Buhari
President Buhari presiding over the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting

After the council meeting, the Ministers of Information, Finance, Communications, Interior and Aviation briefed State House Correspondents.

In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said the Federal government proposed $2.5 billion Eurobond already approved by the National

Assembly would yield N762.5 billion proceeds for the refinancing of treasury bills.

According to her, the deal is expected to save N64 billion for the country annually.

Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun
Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun

Adeosun explained that the $2.5 billion Eurobond issuance was not a new borrowing but had already been approved by the National Assembly as part of the government’s external borrowing plan.

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika told reporters that the Federal Executive Council has substituted Lufthansa Consulting with Airline Management Group and Avia Solutions GE to join the other members of the consortium providing transaction advisory services for the establishment of a national carrier.

Sirika said FEC felt that since Lufthansa is an appendage of the airline group, allowing it to be an advisor might bring conflict of interests.

Still, on FEC, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was reported to have weighed in on the furore created by the reinstatement of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Prof. Usman Yusuf, by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mohammed said Yusuf’s reinstatement would not stop the investigation being carried out by the EFCC against him.

He said: ‘‘I am not aware that the EFCC is investigating the recently reinstated Executive Secretary of NHIS but if that is the case, I don’t think his reinstatement will pose any barrier to any investigation.

Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau on his part said FEC approved N483 million for the procurement of operational vehicles for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

Dambazzau also presented a scorecard of the Ministry following the implementation of FEC approvals from May 2015 to date.

Interior minister Dambazzau
Interior minister Dambazzau. Twitter photo.

He said the Ministry got approval for 17 memoranda for the NIS, Nigerian Prisons service and Federal Fire Service and those involving procurement had achieved 100 percent implementation.

Presenting an account of the implementation of FEC approvals in the Ministry of Communications, the Minister, Adebayo Shiittu said three projects and three policies were approved for his ministry from May 2015 to date.

According to him a radio communications monitoring project, cited in Lagos, Gusau, Azare and Ogoja, to check illegal radio broadcast have reached 63% completion and would be completed by March this year.

The Minister also announced that FEC had resolved the controversy between the Ministry of Communications and that of Science and Technology on who supervises certain agencies within the ICT sector.

Shortly before attending the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting at the State House Council Chambers, the Vice President held a closed meeting with Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants in his office.

He also met with the Presidential Communications Team in his office.

On Thursday, February 8, 2018, President Buhari received Letters of Credence from the Ambassador of the Republic of Togo, Mr. Lene Dimban, Ambassadors of the Republic of Vietnam, Mr. Pham Anh Tuan and the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Emmanuel Mpfayokurera.

Buhari receiving letters of credence from the ambassadors
Buhari receiving letters of credence from the ambassadors

At the ceremony with the Ambassador of Togo, President Buhari called for smooth political transitions in Africa in order to safeguard countries from slipping into crises that slow down economic growth and throw citizens into avoidable hardships.

Also on Thursday, the President received the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) led by Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama.

He used the occasion of the visit to explain the grazing areas policy proposed by Federal Government in response to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country.

The President said the intention of government is to create grazing locations for cattle rearers which has now been misconstrued as another form of colonization.

The President also defended the records of his administration in the area of economy, security and the fight against corruption, insisting that APC-led administration has performed creditably well on these fronts.

The Catholic bishops had told the President, ‘‘there is too much suffering in the country with poverty, hunger, joblessness, insecurity, violence and fear dealing with the masses.’’

Still on Thursday, the Vice President attended the opening session of a National Security Summit organised by the National Assembly.

He spoke about the contentious issues of state police, resolving the herdsmen/farmers clashes and other security concerns across the country.

The Vice President proceeded on the same day to Agbara Industrial area in Ogun state to inaugurate Nestle Milo’s Ready-To-Drink factory and also laid the foundation stone for the Beloxxi factory’s second phase expansion project.

L-R: MD & CEO,Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon; Nigeria’s VP, Yemi Osinbajo; Dep. Gov. of Ogun, Yetunde Onanuga, and Min. of Trade and Inv., Dr Okechukwu Enelamah
L-R: MD & CEO,Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon; Nigeria’s VP, Yemi Osinbajo; Dep. Gov. of Ogun, Yetunde Onanuga, and Min. of Trade and Inv., Dr Okechukwu Enelamah

On Friday, Feb. 9, President Buhari said he would ensure that Judges and Justices recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC) for appointment into various Courts of Record in the instant are fit and proper, and are not under any disability to function.

A statement issued by his spokesperson said the President approved the compulsory retirement of Honourable Justice A. F. A Ademola of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court and the dismissal from office of Honourable Justice O.O Tokode of the Benin Division of the Federal High Court, following the recommendation of the NJC.

As the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea began on Friday the President sent his goodwill message to Team Nigeria, wishing them resounding success in the games.

On the other hand, the Vice President was at the country home of the wife of the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, for the burial of her father. (NAN)