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Economic hardship: Tinubu insists Nigeria’s economy is making progress, not in distress 

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…Sets aside N200bn to support businesses

Following the nationwide outcry on the state of the economy, President Bola Tinubu has disagreed with the notion that the country’s economy is in distress.

Various economists and commentators have in the recent past noted that Nigeria’s economy is in a state of distress while calling for proactive fiscal measures to cushion the hardship.

Nigerians had also trooped out enmasse to cry for an urgent solution to the biting economic gardjaop while echoing voices of hunger and sufferings.

However, President Tinubu argued that to say the country is in “distress suggests helplessness, being at the mercy of something we have no control over. But that is not the case here.”

“We are in challenging times, no doubt, but these times have also been marked by unprecedented opportunities, to reset course and to build a new and sustainable economy, away from the rent-seeking and the waste that was once the order of the day.”

The President made this known when he delivered a speech at the Leadership Conference and Awards 2023, held at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

President Tinubu was honoured as the Leadership Person of the Year 2023 by the Leadership Group Limited, recognising his exceptional leadership and the bold decisions he has made to reposition Nigeria towards economic prosperity.

Represented by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, the President shared key initiatives and investment efforts by the administration to support Nigerian businesses, students, and vulnerable households, as well as to enhance food security and attract foreign direct investment.

He said, “I should start by respectfully challenging that notion that the Nigerian economy is in distress.”

President Tinubu disclosed that intervention funds totaling N200 billion have been set aside to support Nigerian businesses; in addition to a new Federal Students’ Loan program and the Presidential Initiative on CNG. The N200 Billion Naira, according to the President, will be disbursed through three (3) new special intervention funds established to support Nigerian businesses.

On the Presidential Initiative on CNG, the President noted the “imminent rollout of these CNG-powered buses which will bring down the cost of transportation by as much as 50 percent.”

The President also highlighted the substantial increase in revenues accruing to the three tiers of Government since the removal of the petrol subsidy.

“This means more funds are available to directly impact the lives of Nigerians through investments in critical infrastructure, social security, and other areas,” he said.

Other efforts of the Federal Government, aimed at bringing economic relief to Nigerians, include the commencement of negotiations, between the Federal and State Governments and Organized Labour, for a new minimum wage for the country; and the scaling-up of the social investment programme.

”For the poorest and most vulnerable among us, the Social Investment Programme, currently under review to reposition it for maximum impact, will support millions of households with direct cash transfers that will enable them to meet their basic needs.”

The President reiterated the gains of his administration’s robust investment drive: “Since we assumed office in May 2023, we have attracted $30 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) commitments into the real sectors of the economy, including Manufacturing, Telecoms, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, and others.”

”Those investments have already started coming into the country. Just a few days ago, I was in Qatar on an official visit, where the Emir assured me that a senior government delegation would visit Nigeria after Ramadan, to begin taking action on some of the new investments they are looking at here.

“I have asked the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy to directly interface with the Qatari authorities to ensure that speedy progress is made.”

While seeking support and patience from Nigerians, President Tinubu also paid tribute to the Late Sam Nda-Isaiah, founder of the Leadership Group Limited, and commended his wife, Zainab Nda-Isaiah for her continuing leadership.

“I will not close without paying special tribute to the memory of Sam Nda-Isaiah, the man who made this possible, who envisioned and built this into the media empire that it is today. Your memory will continue to live on, not only in our hearts but also in your brilliant writings and in the family and the business legacies that you left behind,” he said.

Furthermore, he emphasised the importance of media reporting that focuses on successes, and not just challenges.

“I ask for the continuing patience and support of all Nigerians, including the elite that is very well represented in this room today. To the Nigerian media, I urge you to strive to report not only the challenges but also the solutions and the opportunities as well. Ours is a story of a country that is taking the right steps, and feeling the fleeting pains that will come with this course of action. A glorious dawn is indeed assured.”

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35,496 suspects arrested, 1,907 rescued from kidnappers in one year — IGP

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The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, Ph.D., NPM, says the Nigeria Police Force in the past one year has arrested  35,496 suspects and rescued 1,907 people from kidnappers.

He disclosed this on Thursday during the monthly Conference with Senior Police Officers, which coincided with a significant milestone in the current administration, its 365 days in office.

The IGP, while addressing senior officers and members of the press, highlighted the progress made and the challenges faced over the past year since he assumed office as the 22nd Indigenous Inspector-General of Police taking time to reflect, evaluate, and plan for the future.

The IGP noted that during the past twelve months, the Force has faced considerable challenges, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and armed robbery.

In a statement made available by Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, he said, “Despite these threats, the Nigeria Police Force has remained resilient and dedicated to its mandate.” The IGP commended officers for their hard work and dedication, emphasising the positive results achieved through capacity building, service improvements, and strengthened relationships with sister services and the public.

Reflecting on the year’s accomplishments, the IGP acknowledged the vital achievements of his administration in one year including “the presentation of a total of N9.85 billion to families of deceased officers under the Group Life Assurance Scheme and the IGP Family Welfare Scheme, the declaration of April 7 as National Police Day by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the promotion of inaugural Police Commendation and Awards Ceremony, the promotion of 33,867 officers based on merit, competence, and available vacancies.”

“Also is the advancement of infrastructural development which will culminate in the commissioning of some projects such as the Nigeria Police Resource Centre, the International Conference Centre, the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC), the Force Intelligence Building, the Force Public Relations School, the Police Intelligence School located in Share, Kwara State, Evidence/Exhibits Storage facilities, and newly acquired operational assets including vehicles, APCs, Drones, Gun trucks etc.

“In the past one year, the Nigeria Police Force has arrested 35,496 suspects for their participation in various crimes, rescued 1,907 kidnapped victims, and recovered 2,750 firearms, 22,569 ammunition, and 1,540 vehicles nationwide, while the Legal/Prosecutions Section has successfully prosecuted 29,052 criminal cases, securing 16,200 convictions.”

The conference also focused on the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States, with the IGP outlining security plans to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in ensuring smooth elections.

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OML58: NNPC Ltd, TotalEnergies announce $550m investment deal on Ubeta project

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By Esther Agbo and Opeyemi Abdulsalam

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited signed an agreement with TotalEnergies for the final investment decision (FID) on the Ubeta Field Development Project.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on Thursday in Abuja.

This project is expected to have a significant impact on Nigeria’s energy sector and contribute to the country’s efforts to develop its oil and gas resources.

Speaking at the event, Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO) of NNPC, said on stream, the Ubeta project will produce about 350 million standard cubic feet (MMScf) per day of gas and 10,000 barrels per day of associated liquids.

This, Kyari said, is an opportunity to tap into the vast gas reserves and contribute towards securing gas supply to Nigeria’s liquified natural gas (LNG).

Kyari said, “I’m very convinced that many more projects will come alongside this as we progress.”

“And maybe not the right moment to make those announcements, but I know that a number of projects have been enabled by the executive order of Mr. President.

“No doubt, this project will create opportunities, jobs, and everything that you can imagine, including making our energy investment much more productive.

“I know for sure that the engagements with our other partners will ensure delivery of gas sufficient to keep our train 1 to 7 active and at full capacity, and also realise our ambitions for train 7.”

While appreciating the support from stakeholders, Kyari highlighted the continuous support of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in facilitating a conducive operational environment, which he said is a major driver of the deal.

He also said the presidential executive order was instrumental to achieving the milestone and the impact of the policy is being seen.

Also speaking at the event the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, delivered a keynote address at the Final Investment Decision (FID) Ceremony for the OML58 Ubeta Field Development Project.

The Ubeta Project is projected to produce 350 million standard cubic feet per day (MMScf/d) of gas at its peak. This initiative is a testament to TotalEnergies’ commitment to Nigeria and plays a crucial role in ensuring a stable gas supply for Nigeria LNG.

Minister Ekpo emphasised the project’s alignment with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s strategic objectives and the Presidential Executive Orders of March 2024. These directives aim to transform Nigeria into a major gas hub, providing cleaner energy, creating jobs, and fostering economic growth.

The Decade of Gas Initiative has laid the groundwork for ambitious projects like Ubeta, focusing on leveraging Nigeria’s abundant gas resources to drive industrialisation, reduce environmental impact, and offer affordable energy to millions of Nigerians.

The Ubeta Field Development Project is a prime example of investments that bring technological advancements, foster local content, and generate sustainable economic benefits.

Minister Ekpo commended TotalEnergies for their continued partnership and investment in Nigeria, acknowledging their role in boosting gas production capabilities.

He said, “I want to take this opportunity to commend TotalEnergies for their continued partnership and investment in Nigeria. Your efforts not only boost our gas production capabilities but also contribute to our shared goals of energy security and economic prosperity.

“We value your commitment to employing innovative technologies and practices that ensure the efficiency and safety of your operations.”

He also highlighted the effectiveness of Nigeria’s policies in creating a conducive environment for investment in the gas sector, attributing the project’s fruition to supportive government policies and regulatory frameworks.

Looking ahead, Minister Ekpo urged for continued collaboration to harness Nigeria’s vast gas potential.

He stressed that the success of the Ubeta Project would be measured not only by gas production volumes but also by its positive impact on the economy, communities, and environment.

In conclusion, Minister Ekpo congratulated all contributors to the project, praising their dedication and hard work.

He called for ongoing cooperation to ensure the successful implementation and operation of the Ubeta Field Development Project, setting a benchmark for future projects in Nigeria’s gas sector.

The event concluded with a call for continued efforts to leverage Nigeria’s gas resources for the nation’s economic and environmental benefit.

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Federal High Court affirms Bayero’s deposition as Emir of Kano

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…Upholds validity of Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024

The ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Kano presided over by Justice A.M. Liman today has brought to an end, the argument on the deposition of former Emir Aminu Ado Bayero as the court ruled that the new Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024 remains valid.

According to the ruling, all five Emirates of Gaya, Rano, Karaye, Kano and Bichi remained abolished.

While delivering the ruling, Justice A.M. Liman held that the Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024 remains the law and its validity is intact but actions taken after assenting the law when an order from the court was issued are voided.

Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf has assented to the new law and reinstated the 14th Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi as the 16th Emir of one united Kan at the same time (23rd May, 2024 by 5.10pm).

“Law is still the law, but actions carried out in the execution of the law are set aside.”

Justice Liman also granted a stay of proceeding and transferred the case to his learned brother of court three, Justice Amobeda. This bars all parties from taking any step to enforce the ruling till after determination of the appeal.

By this decision of the Federal High Court, the five former Emirs including that of Kano with 8 Local Government areas remained deposed and the defunct Emirates remained abolished.

It is therefore ascertained that the 16th Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II remains on throne and Aminu Ado Bayero remains deposed while the legal tussle continues.

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