Presidential Villa roundup from July 29 to August 4, 2018

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President Muhammadu Buhari (left), Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar
President Muhammadu Buhari (left), Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar

Activities commenced at the Presidential Villa for the week on Sunday, July 29, with an announcement by the Presidency that the Federal Government has assembled a 1000-strong military force, comprising the army, air force, police and the civil defence to launch fierce attacks on the bandits terrorising the villages and towns of Zamfara State.

A statement issued by Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity said the deployment of troops to Zamfara followed directives by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has begun the deployment of fighter jets to Katsina, the airport with the closest proximity to Zamfara State to make for immediate and effective response to the menace of the bandits.

According to him, this has not been possible in the past because there was no fuel depot facility in Katsina, but NAF has devised a way around the problem.

In Lome on Sunday night, the President was quoted as saying that he was not bothered about the defections in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) because the majority of Nigerians was supportive and appreciative of his administration’s performance.

New ECOWAS Chairman, President Buhari with his predecessor Faure Gnassingbe and President of Liberia, George Weah in Lome
New ECOWAS Chairman, President Buhari with his predecessor Faure Gnassingbe, in Lome during the ECOWAS meeting; Cross River State Gov. Ben Ayade watching from behind

The President was responding to a question during an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Togo at the Nigerian Embassy, Lome, according to a statement by Garba Shehu, his media aide.

On Monday, July 30, President Buhari made a strong appeal for inter-regional collaboration on maritime security, the fight against terrorism and other crimes through effective border control.

The President made the call while contributing to the consideration and adoption of the Draft Declaration by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Peace, Security, Stability and the Fight against Terrorism and Violent Extremism in the Togolese capital.

“Respect for rule of law, democracy and promotion of human rights are also vital as they are attributes of good governance, which would enhance the socio-economic development of the two regions,” he added.

On Tuesday, July 31, the Presidency said there was no truth in the claims that President Muhammadu Buhari has a hand in the move by minority members of the Benue State House of Assembly to remove the State Governor Samuel Ortom.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said this in a statement made available to journalists.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina says President Buhari has no hand in Benue State politics

Adesina said Buhari would never be part of any unconstitutional act, adding that any attempt to link the President with the inglorious past, when minority number of lawmakers removed governors, will not stick.

Later on Tuesday in Lome, President Buhari was elected the new Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The President’s election was one of the highpoints of the 53rd Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS which held in the Togolese capital.

In his acceptance remarks, the Nigerian leader, who commended his colleagues for his election, noted that he did not offer himself for the post, “but you refused to take my no for an answer.”

Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, on Wednesday, August 1, urged Nigerian groups or individuals that have objections to the Nigerian Press Council Amendment Bill to follow due process rather than throw mud at the government using the media.

Garba Shehu
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

Shehu pointed out that all the attacks against the government as a result of the bill were misdirected since it has nothing at all to do with the Executive.

“This is a privately-sponsored bill; President Muhammadu Buhari is not involved,” Shehu said.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity said President Muhammadu Buhari will begin a 10-day working holiday from August 3, 2018.

“In compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, a letter has been transmitted to the President of the Senate, and the Speaker, House of Representatives to that effect.

“While the President is on vacation, the Vice President will be in acting capacity as President. President Buhari will be in London for the holiday,” he said.

Also on Wednesday, President Buhari received President Adama Barrow of The Gambia at State House, Abuja, during which he said development was usually the first casualty in an unstable polity.

President Adama Barrow and President Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday
President Buhari receives President Adama Barrow of The Gambia at State House, Abuja on Wednesday

According to President Buhari, “The best route to national development is stability. When a country is not stable, you spend most of your financial resources on security.

“That is the money that should have gone into education, infrastructure, and generating employment for the people, particularly youths,” President Buhari was quoted in a statement by Femi Adesina, his media aide.

The President was quoted to have congratulated President Barrow for stabilising The Gambia after his emergence, following the impasse caused by his immediate predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, who initially refused to vacate office, after losing the presidential election in December 2016.

Also on Wednesday, the President took time off late Wednesday afternoon to visit the proposed presidential campaign office for next year’s election.

President Buhari arrives at the Campaign office
President Buhari arrives at the proposed presidential campaign office for next year’s election

Adesina, in a statement, said the same building at Herbert Macaulay Way, Central Area, Abuja, had served as campaign headquarters for the 2015 election.

President Buhari was reported to have expressed satisfaction with the facelift and thanked all those who worked on giving the office a befitting look.

On Wednesday night, the President was reported to have met with the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole and some senators elected on the platform of the party led by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan.

The meeting came amidst the gale of defections being witnessed in the party.

President Buhari meets with the National Chairman of the APC Adams Oshiomhole and some senators elected on the platform of the party led by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan
President Buhari meets with the National Chairman of the APC Adams Oshiomhole and some senators elected on the platform of the party led by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan

Oshiomhole told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that the right thing for the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki to do is to vacate his seat, having left the party.

Earlier on Wednesday, the President had presided over the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

Addressing State House Correspondents after the meeting, Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said Nigeria and China have agreed on a prisoner swap.

Malami said the swap deal was ratified by FEC, explaining that Nigerian prisoners to be affected for now were specifically those jailed in Macau, an autonomous region in the South Coast of China.

Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami, addressing newsmen in Abuja
Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami, addressing newsmen in Abuja

He however, clarified that for the deal to be effective, it would also need to be ratified by the Chinese authorities, adding that there was plan to sign similar deals with other countries.

The Minister also disclosed that FEC approved a Federal Government Action Plan on Anti-money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism.

In his remarks, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said council approved N72.9 billion contract for the reconstruction of Creek Road to Tin Can Island through Apapa and Oworonsoki roads to Toll Gate end of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

The project, which excludes the Coconut and Mile 2 sections of the road, is to be handled by the Dangote Group on a Public-Private Partnership.

On Thursday, August 2, 2018, President Buhari met behind closed doors with the nation’s security chiefs.

President Buhari meets behind closed doors with the nation’s security chiefs
President Buhari meets behind closed doors with the nation’s security chiefs

The meeting, which was held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was meant to review ongoing efforts aimed at tackling security challenges across the country.

At the end of the meeting, a statement credited to the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali said the security chiefs seized the opportunity of the meeting to demand for more equipment from the Federal Government to sustain the tempo in the fight against insurgency and other security challenges across the country.

Later on Thursday, President Buhari flew into Bauchi for the campaign rally of Hon. Lawal Yahaya Gumau, the APC candidate for the August 11 by-election in Bauchi Southern Senatorial District.

President Muhammadu Buhari at campaign rally in Bauchi on Thursday for Hon. Lawal Yahaya Gumau who is vying for senatorial seat
President Muhammadu Buhari at campaign rally in Bauchi on Thursday for Hon. Lawal Yahaya Gumau who is vying for senatorial seat

In his remarks at the rally, the President prayed that God will expose bad eggs and sycophants within his party ‘‘who are bent on trying to loot our resources.’’

The president told party supporters his administration had not relented in addressing the security challenges in the country, as well as placing the nation on a sound economic footing.

He therefore, urged the people of the state to vote and support the APC candidate in the forthcoming senatorial by-election.

On Friday, August 3, 2018, President Buhari commenced his 10 working days holiday in the United Kingdom.

Read also: Presidential Villa roundup from July 22 to July 28, 2018


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