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You are Dividing Nigeria, Presidency Tells Obasanjo

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By Orkula Shaagee and Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The Presidency yesterday fired back at former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, saying his most recent statement was an attempt to divide the nation, while President Muhammadu Buhari was working continuously to promote nation building and unity of the country.

 “Difference is clear.

From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief, to adapt the coinage of time,” the presidency stated.

Describing the former Presidents comments as unfair attacks on President Buhari and his administration, the Presidency said that  contrary to the assertions by a few analysts, the recent speech in which President Buhari advised West African Presidents against tenure elongation beyond constitutional limits, has been consistent with his long held views on the need to adhere to the rule of law.

The presidency said even though Obasanjo failed to elongate his tenure, the recent uptick in the number of such leaders proposing to do, or actually carrying on in office beyond term limits was sufficient to cause concern among democrats in the sub-region given its prospects of destabilizing the states and the region.

 “President Buhari’s advocacy is consistent with his principles and in line with the current policies of his administration and indeed that of the ECOWAS Charter which is that term limits must be respected and that the change of government is only permissible through the ballot box,” Senior Special Assistnt to the President, Garba Shehu said in a statement. 

“Having cleared this misperception, we hope that Chief Obasanjo would once again sheath the sword and rest the pretentiousness about the Messiah that has (mis) led him to pronounce often wrongly, as he disastrously did in the 2019 elections, about the life and death of Nigerian governments.

“As some commentators are already suggesting, Chief Obasanjo should, in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, get involved with problems solving, when and where they exist instead of helping the mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism.

“Surely, he must have disappointed many of his local and foreign admirers by showering commendations on a few extremist groups who have vowed to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the process of constitutional amendment.

“No doubt, he must have left those admirers confused in announcing the support for the boycott of a democratic process of changing the constitution, at the same time calling for dialogue and engagement.

“The fact that the process he ushered in under his administration with the dubious intention of amendments that sought tenure elongation failed-as did two other attempts by the successor administrations of the same political party- does not in any way justify his dismissal of the exercise by the 9th Assembly as a another waste of time and resources.

“To the credit of the All Progressives Congress-led 8th Assembly, the process of constitutional amendment was kick-started and carried through, paving the way for, among other benefits, the financial independence of local government councils, States Houses of Assembly and the country’s Judiciary. These changes have already been signed into laws by the President as mandated by the constitution,” the Presidency stated.

It explained that the recent decisions by the administration as they relate to subsidy withdrawal, helping to plug some of the most horrendous notorious holes and release of scarce resources for the more pressing needs of the people has also not escaped the ire of the former president.

I “It’s a known fact that the withdrawal of subsidies had been on the wish list of the Obasanjo-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). They failed in achieving these measures because one, there was a shared greed. They plundered the treasury as much as anyone could in the name of either subsidy or waiver with reckless impunity.

“Two, is to say it takes courage and rare statesmanship on the part of a leader to do as President Buhari to shun populism and seek the best interest of the people and the state, providing the kind of reform and development that Nigeria urgently needs,” the president said.

It boasted that President Buhari has ran an administration focused on infrastructure and development, adding that he has repaired the nation’s damaged relations with neighbours and our traditional allies such as the UK, US, China, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the others with lots of benefits to the country.

The presidency also said that the Buhari led administration, “is a pro-business administration that has used diplomacy to unlock bilateral trade and investment.

“He leads a government that has liberalized the investment climate and market access by achieving reforms that have placed the country in the list of the world’s top reforming economies.

“Nigeria, which other nations had mocked and ridiculed for so many things that were wrong is today progressing at a pace reflecting its size and potential.

“With so much to show and many more coming, it is little surprise that President Buhari would be the object of envy and harsh unfair challenges by politicians who failed to deliver, but continue to nurse ambitions of delighting the audience long after their curtain has been drawn.”

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Federation Account Garners N7trn Revenue in Six Months – RMAFC

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) yesterday disclosed that a total sum of N7.31 trillion accrued to the Federation Account between July and Dec. 2023.This was captured in the monthly report to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the caption “CBN Federation Account Component Statement”.

This amount is higher than the sum of N5.
244 trillion realised in the first half of year 2023, according to a statement signed by the RMAFC Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Bello Shehu and made available to the media in Abuja.The chairman disclosed that out of the total gross revenue inflows into the Federation Account, the sum of N1,692 trillion was transferred to the Exchange Gain Differential Account, thus leaving a balance of N5.
475 billion for distribution.He added that from the amount stated above, the sum of N3.26 trillion was deducted as approved statutory deductions by the OAGF, leaving a net balance of N2.2 trillion for distribution to the three tiers of government within the period under review.The chairman explained that out of the N3.267 trillion statutory deduction indicated above, N2.251 trillion was transferred to the Non-Oil Excess Account as savings, thus leaving a net statutory deduction of N1.016 trillion with further augmentations for sharing among the three tiers of government received from some “reserve accounts.”The statement added that within the period under review, the net sum of N4 trillion was shared with the three tiers of government, an amount higher than the total sum of N3.06 trillion.In terms of percentages, the chairman stressed that “the statutory deduction in the second half of the year constituted 44.12 percent of the total gross inflow into the Federation Account in the six-month period, which was higher than the first half deductions of 42.31 percent (inclusive of transfer to the Non-Oil Excess Account).”On remittances by Revenue Generating Agencies (RGAs), the RMAFC chairman disclosed that out of the total gross revenue inflows into the Federation Account, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) remitted N874 64 billion in the second half of the year as against the zero-remittance made in the first half of the year.Similarly, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) remitted the sum of N1.56 trillion while the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) remitted N3.65 trillion

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PDP NEC Meeting Ends with Damagum as Acting Chairman

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 98th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting yesterday ended without a word on the much talked-about replacement of the party’s Acting National Chairman, Amb. Iliya Damagum, an indication that he will continue to function in that position.

In an interview with newsmen after the meeting, the PDP spokesman, Hon.
Debo Ologunagba said for now, the party is focusing on issues of reconciliation and its stability, adding that the issue of the Acting National Chairmanship had been “deferred to the next NEC meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for August 15, 2024″.
Also speaking, the Governor of Bauchi State and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Bala Mohammed said the party is united as there was no dissension and rancour.
In his words, “It was planned that the party would have an implosion. PDP is more than that. We have gone beyond all that. This party is united, guided by experience and constitutionality.”There were a lot of permutations and mischievous thinking outside there. But we looked at all the issues and we worked along our guidelines and constitution.“There is no problem or dissension and problem among members,” Mohammed said.The well attended NEC meeting was held amid tight security as police and personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) condoned off roads leading to the PDP Secretariat, Abuja and diverted vehicular traffic.It will be recalled that the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) had passed a vote of confidence on Damagum during its meeting on Tuesday.A communique issued at the end of the three hours meeting commended all the organs of the party for their collective resilience, steadfastness and commitment towards the unity, stability and sustenance the party despite daunting challenges.The communique commended the efforts of the NWC in its effort towards rebranding the party and urged all party members to continue to work together for the success of the PDP for the benefit of Nigerians and sustenance of democracy in our country.

The document which was read by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Ologunagba, however, expressed concern over what it described as the ill-implemented policies of the APC administration, leading to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life with pervading misery and despondency across the country.”NEC expresses serious apprehension over the spate of acts of terrorism and violence including the escalated cases of mindless killings, mass abduction of innocent Nigerians and marauding of communities in various parts of the country.”NEC condemns the insensitivity, nonchalance, incompetence and arrogance in failure of the APC administration which continues to conduct itself in a manner that shows that it has no iota of interest or commitment towards the wellbeing of Nigerians.”NEC also condemns the creeping totalitarianism and tendencies towards a One-Party State which is inimical to the peace, stability and corporate existence of our nation as well as the development of Democracy and good governance in the country,” it said.The communique demanded that President Bola Tinubu should urgently convene a special National Security Council meeting to proffer a holistic solution and measures to curb the disturbing insecurity with its attendant negative consequences on the nation.It also called on the president to “immediately rejig his Economic Team to bring in persons of proven integrity and competence without bias and vested interest to assist in repositioning the economy.”NEC further demands that the Federal Government should review all policies and programmes which are stifling the economy with suffocating effect on the lives of citizens; including the increase in price of fuel without cushioning measures, hike in electricity tariff, increased taxation and implementation of adverse fiscal policies,” the communique added.Present at the meeting were FCT Minister Nyesom Wike, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and many other past and presently elected members of the PDP.

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CBN Reduces Banks’ Lending Rate to 50 Percent

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday announced a review of the loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) for banks from 65 percent to 50 percent to align with the current monetary tightening.

LDR is used to assess a bank’s liquidity by comparing its total loans to its total deposits.

An increase in the loan-to-deposit ratio allows banks to expand their credits to businesses and individuals, however, a decline in LDR reduces their ability to loan customers from depositors’ funds.

CBN disclosed the increase in a circular titled “Re: Regulatory Measures to Improve Lending to the Sector of the Nigerian Economy”, signed by Adetona Adedeji, CBN Acting Director, Banking Supervision Department.

“Following a shift in the b  ank’s policy stance towards a more contractionary approach, it is imperative to review the loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) policy to align with the current monetary tightening by the CBN,” the apex bank said.

“Accordingly, the CBN has decided to reduce the LDR by 15 percentage points to 50%, in a similar proportion to the increase in the CRR rate for banks.

“All DMBs are required to maintain this level and are further advised that average daily figures shall continue to be applied to assess compliance.”At the last monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting on March 26, the CBN retained the CRR at 45 percent and the liquidity rate at 30 percent.

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