President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, May 14, activated his weekly activities at the Presidential Villa for the week when he commenced a two-day working visit to Jigawa State.
The President while at an event in Auyo, local government area of the state, to mark the commencement of the rehabilitation and expansion of the 6,000-hectare Hadejia Valley irrigation project, declared that Nigeria’s agricultural revolution is real and on course.
The President assured Nigerians that his administration would sustain the positive momentum in the sector by implementing the right policies and providing the needed financial resources for people-oriented projects.
In Jigawa, the President commissioned the 42-kilometre Tasheguwa-Guri Road and the 32-kilometre Abunabo-Kadira-Guri road constructed by the State government to facilitate easier movement and evacuation of farm produce.
President Buhari also commissioned the 250,000 solar- powered water supply scheme.
The project is one out of nine of such projects which will add nine million litres to daily water supply in Dutse and environs.
At the palace of the Emir of Dutse, Alhaji Nuhu Muhammadu Sanusi, the President said his administration had done more with less resources in three years.
He told the Emir that his administration is delivering on promises with clear-cut targets, prudent management of resources and a deliberate policy to plug wastage and pilfering of government resources.
At a State dinner in his honour by the Government of Jigawa State during his two-day working visit, President Buhari reiterated that the nation’s economy was steadily improving, urging Nigerians to remain optimistic as the future of the country is bright.
He urged Nigerians to continue supporting his administration’s well thought-out economic policies.
He said: “The future is bright for Nigeria, as the economy has taken a turn for the better, our foreign reserves are almost twice the level we met, boosting investor confidence and stabilising the Naira, and inflation has declined consecutively for more than a year.’’
The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who also started his weekly activities on Monday, May 14, declared open the 8th Commonwealth Conference of Heads of Anti-corruption Agencies in Africa held in Abuja.
In his address at the event, the Vice President emphasised the need for African governments to strengthen institutions to fight corruption by ensuring effective regional collaboration among Commonwealth member nations to address the problem.
According to him, “the cost of corruption imposes on all African countries and governments a moral obligation to fight it with vigour and political will, by strengthening all institutions and systems involved in law enforcement, as well as in promoting a culture of transparency and accountability.
“While public sector corruption is the usual focus, the private sector’s complicity is significant, especially with large multinational corporations engage in tax evasion or transfer pricing.”
He said: “But it is the complex web of public-private collusion and connivance that results in proceeds of corruption ending up in foreign countries and, especially, in their financial institutions and systems.
“Dismantling the conspiracies that facilitate export of stolen assets is probably as important as the theme of this conference which is ‘Partnering towards Assets Recovery and Return’.”
On Tuesday, May 15, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the new head office of EFCC in Abuja.
In his address at the event, the President vowed to sustain the anti-corruption war despite the scars he suffered in his first attempt at fighting corruption as a military head of state between 1984 and 1985.
The President said “In my first attempt to fight corruption, corruption fought back successfully; I was detained for three years and only released after my mother died.
In spite of that, my objective of fighting corruption remains steadfast. The war against corruption is not an easy one to fight, because it affects so many different branches of our lives, so much so that some people do not even consider breaking the people’s trust a crime anymore.”
Before his arrival in Abuja, the President launched the Jigawa State Social Intervention Programme, designed to help farmers increase their production.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo attended the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Focus Lab Open Day, at the International Conference Centre.
The Focus Lab initiative is an investment driven set of activities coordinated by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to help actualize Nigeria’s development targets in line with the ERGP.
In his remarks at the event, the Vice President said “the Lab has largely achieved what it set out to do”, noting that it would usher in a brighter future for the country.
Prof. Osinbajo disclosed that, already the Lab had identified $22.5 billion in private investments from 164 projects, adding that the ERGP Focus Labs’ projects were expected to create 500,000 new jobs.
According to him, “The ERGP Focus Labs have succeeded in identifying more than US$22.5 billion in private investments from about 164 projects, which can be unlocked.
Of this amount, USD $10.9 billion of them are what we call ‘Most Ready’ projects, that is, we are almost sure to unlock these projects and accelerate their delivery by the private sector.
These projects are forecast to create more than half a million new permanent jobs for the people of Nigeria up until the year 2020, demonstrating the far-reaching impact of the ERGP Focus Labs in unleashing a brighter future for our country”
Later on Tuesday, the Vice President departed Abuja for Makurdi to start a two-day working visit to Benue State.
On arrival at the NAF Base, Makurdi, Prof. Osinbajo was received by Governor Samuel Ortom and some leaders of the APC in the state.
The Vice President then proceeded to the Abagana IDP camp in Makurdi Local Government Area and Daudu IDP Camp in Guma Local Government Area of Benue state, to see the situation of victims of the herders-farmers conflict.
Addressing IDPs at the Abagana Camp, Prof. Osinbajo said the Federal Government was not oblivious of their challenges and was taking adequate steps to address them, and announced President Buhari’s approval of N10 billion for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of communities and facilities lost in the conflict.
At the Daudu camp, the Vice President, having listened to presentations by various groups in the camp, directed NEMA to commence the immediate construction of temporary accommodation for the IDPs and urged them to be patient as government was committed to addressing their situation.
Returning from the visit to the IDP camps, the Vice President met with important Benue stakeholders in a town hall where critical issues relating to security, reconstruction and rehabilitation, amongst others, were discussed.
The President on Wednesday, May 16, presided over the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said FEC approved 21 million euros for the purchase of two tug boats for towing of maritime vessels, and another N703 million for dredging of the turning base of the Baro river port in Niger State.
Also speaking, the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said Council approved $995 million and N15.45 billion for two roads.
Also, Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said FEC gave approval to obtain a French Development Agency (AFD) credit of $60 million for the scaling up of the Second Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP II) to include Imo State.
The President also issued a statement on the 2018 Ramadan season extending his best wishes to Muslims in Nigeria and across the world on the commencement of the 30-day Ramadan fast.
The President said fasting was not just meant to stay hungry or thirsty, but an opportunity to strive for inner purification and self-accountability.
At a dinner on Wednesday with Southwest caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Buhari urged them to take the mission to rescue Ekiti from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seriously.
Urging party members to work together, the President told the group that as he promised, he would not interfere in the internal affairs of the party at any level.
While the FEC meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday, the Vice President continued his state visit to Benue with a tour of IDP camps at Anyiin in Logo Local Government Area and Gbajimba in Guma Local Government Area.
At different locations, the Vice President assured the people that peace would soon come their way as government was working hard to address the root causes of the problem.
He however said that the task of rebuilding homes and restoring livelihoods in communities destroyed in violent conflicts requires patience and cooperation of all.
Prof. Osinbajo added that government would also scale up the implementation of the SIPs in the affected areas to alleviate the sufferings of the people.
On Thursday, May 17, President Buhari met behind closed doors with the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting centred on efforts being made by Army authorities to restore peace to troubled parts of the country, according to Burutai, who spoke to State House correspondents after the meeting.
Still on Thursday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo chaired the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) which deliberated on a wide range of issues including the review of government’s economic diversification efforts as well as the KPMG audit report on non-remittances to the Federation Account by some MDAs.
In a release later issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, the council got a KPMG report on revenue generating agencies indicating that NNPC and other agencies had underpaid the federation by N526b, $21b.
According to the statement, “an audit report by KPMG has revealed that between January 2010 to June 2015, NNPC and other Revenue Generating Agencies underpaid the federation to the tune of N526B and $21B.
“The report which was presented to an Ad-Hoc Committee of the National Economic Council which held its monthly meeting was adopted by the Council with a resolution that possible criminal infringements should be identified and individuals involved should be prosecuted.”
Friday, May 18, saw the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu saying that President Buhari had a telephone conversation with the newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, where he expressed satisfaction with the current level of relationship between Nigeria and the United States of America.
President Buhari recalled his past meeting with Mr. Pompeo, then as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and thanked him for the enormous support the U.S. has extended to the Nigerian Security and Intelligence services.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was in Enugu on Friday to inaugurate the N-Power Build, a component of the Social Investment Programme.
Prof. Osinbajo said the programme was the present administration’s efforts aimed at re-igniting the culture of apprenticeship in Nigeria.
According to him, “It is my firm belief that reviving our apprenticeship culture forms a key part of the solution to the issues of skill shortages and youth unemployment.
“We must seek to put learning back into apprenticeships, allow the employers to lead the way through the various sector skill councils and together work towards a common goal of skilling our teeming youths with relevant and appropriate skill competencies for the enormous infrastructure projects we have embarked upon.
“We must also be deliberate and push beyond skills training alone, towards re-igniting the apprenticeship culture”.
Shortly after the Enugu launch of the programme, the Vice President proceeded to Abia state to inaugurate the programme in Obingwa, Abia state and to also flag off the Energising Markets initiative, an off grid solar programme to improve power supply in major markets and trading clusters across the country.
Read also: Presidential Villa roundup for May 6 to May 12, 2018