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Buhari inaugurates economic team, sets agenda

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President Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday in Abuja administered oaths of office on members of the newly-constituted Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).

He also set an agenda of what they should accomplish in the shortest possible time.

Speaking at a meeting with the 8-man Council chaired by Prof. Doyin Salami, President Buhari charged them to focus on developing reliable data that will properly reflect what is happening in the country.

The President, who called the task before the PEAC ‘‘most important national assignment’’, said: ‘’As you develop your baseline study, I would like you to focus on primary data collection.

‘‘Today, most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria are developed abroad by the World Bank, IMF and other foreign bodies.

‘‘Some of the statistics we get relating to Nigeria are wild estimates and bear little relation to the facts on the ground.

‘‘This is disturbing as it implies we are not fully aware of what is happening in our own country.

‘‘We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data. As you are aware, as a government, we prioritised agriculture as a critical sector to create jobs and bring prosperity to our rural communities.

‘‘Our programs covered the entire agricultural value chain from seed to fertilizer to grains and ultimately, our dishes.

‘‘As you travel in some rural communities, you can clearly see the impact. However, the absence of reliable data is hindering our ability to upgrade these programmes and assure their sustainability.”

The President also used the occasion to set agenda and expectations from the Council, constituted on September 16, 2019, to replace the Economic Management Team (EMT).

On the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), the President told members that his administration was working to measure the impact of the programme targeted at improving the well-being of millions of poor and vulnerable citizens.

As such, the President said he had directed the new Minister for Humanitarian Affairs to commence a comprehensive data-gathering exercise in all Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the North East.

‘‘Today, we hear international organisations claiming to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on IDPs in the North East. But when you visit the camps, you rarely see the impact.

‘‘In 2017, when the National Emergency Management Agency took over the feeding of some IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the amount we spent was significantly lower than the claims made by these international organisations.

‘‘Therefore, actionable data is critical to implement effective strategies to address pressing problems such as these humanitarian issues.

‘‘I, therefore, look forward to receiving your baseline study as this will help us shape ideas for a sustainable and prosperous future,’’ the President said.

On his expectations from the council, the President urged them to proffer solutions on how to move the country and economy forward.

The President directed the Council to coordinate and synthesize ideas and efforts on how to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, working in collaboration with various employment generating agencies of government.

”I am told you worked throughout last weekend in preparation for this meeting.

”I have listened attentively to findings and ideas on how to move the country and the economy forward.

”Yes, Nigeria has exited the recession. But our reported growth rate is still not fast enough to create the jobs we need to meet our national ambition of collective prosperity.

”Reason being we had to tread carefully in view of the mess we inherited.

”Many of the ideas we developed in the last four years were targeted at returning Nigeria back to the path of growth.

”I am sure you will also appreciate that during that time, our country was also facing serious challenges especially in the areas of insecurity and massive corruption.

”Therefore, I will be the first to admit that our plans were conservative. We had to avoid reckless and not well thought out policies.

”However, it was very clear to me after we exited the recession that we needed to re-energise our economic growth plans. This is what I expect from you, ” he said.

President Buhari also assured the Council that the Federal Government will ensure that all their needs and requests were met before the next technical sessions in November.

He said all key ministries, departments and agencies will be available to meet and discuss with them how to collectively build a new Nigeria that caters for all.

”Now, no one person or a group of persons has a monopoly of knowledge or wisdom or patriotism.

”In the circumstances, you may feel free to co-opt, consult and defer to any knowledgeable person if in your opinion such a move enriches your deliberations and add to the quality of your decisions, ” he said.

Chairman of Council, Professor Salami, said the mandate was about “Nigeria first, Nigeria second, and Nigeria always,” adding that it was about Nigerians, not as numbers, but as people.
He added: “Our goal is that the economy grows in a manner that is rapid, inclusive, sustained and sustainable so that Nigerians will feel the impact.”

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44 workers sacked in Benue property company

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The Benue Investment and Property Company (BIPC), on Tuesday announced the sack of 44 workers it claimed were redundant.

Mr Alex Adum, its Managing Director, who announced this at his first accountability press briefing in Makurdi, said that their employment followed due processes, but “lacked business needs”.

According to him, the reduction in the workforce is part of an ongoing restructuring in the company, NAN reports

“All the affected staff have been redundant; I inherited a total of 204 workers, among those sacked were three Executive Directors and four General Managers.

“In 2016, BIPC had 66 staff; between 2016 and 2019, an additional 150 staff were employed,” he said.

Adums said that the company’s monthly wage bill rose to N37 million due to the number of employees.

The managing director said that he was aware of the criticisms the sack would attract, but declared that he was “doing it in good faith, and in the interest of Benue”.

He said that the company’s shares and assets had hugely depreciated due to misapplication of managerial principles.

“Previous administrations refused to apply sound managerial principles; they made the company a social service extension centre.

“They watched while the company collapsed, and left a lot of liabilities for the government to battle with,” he fumed.

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Supreme court fixes date to resume FG, senator Kashamu’s extradition legal battle

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The Supreme Court has fixed October 17 to resume hearing in an appeal filed by former Senator Buruji Kashamu challenging the Federal government’s move to extradite him to the United States of America (USA) for trial in an alleged hard drug trafficking offence

The long drawn legal battle started in 2014 by Kashamu at the Federal high court to thwart the request of the American government that he be extradited to USA to answer alleged criminal charges filed against him about heroine drug importation into the country.

It was gathered that ten other persons said to have been involved in the alleged drug offence have been tried, convicted and sentenced to various prison terms while Kashamu reportedly escaped and ran back to Nigeria prompting the extradition request against him.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are the key respondents in the two appeals filed by Kashamu to stop the federal government from executing two Appeal Court judgments granted against him.

This is coming as the AGF is making moves to challenge together, the multiple lawsuits filed by Kashamu in various courts on ground of abuse of court processes and use of the suits to harass the Federal government and the NDLEA.

Apart from the two appeals pending in Supreme Court Kashamu has filed two fresh ones at the Federal high court in Abuja before Justice Okon Abang and another one at the Lagos division of the court before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.

The hearing date has been communicated to parties involved in the legal tussle through issuance of hearing notice.

The Apex Court is to review the two judgments delivered in favour of the Federal Government by the Lagos division of Court of Appeal on May 4, 2018.

Kashamu had in his notice of appeal to Supreme Court complained that the Court of Appeal erred in law by voiding and setting aside the two judgments of the Federal High Court, Abuja which barred Federal Government from extraditing him to America.

The ex-senator is praying the Apex Court to set aside the decisions of the Court of Appeal as they affected him.

But government through the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, has joined issues with him over a counter prayer that the Supreme Court should uphold the judgments of the Court of Appeal meant for his extradition.

The AGF claimed that the Appeal Court was right in setting aside two judgments of the High Court because they were based on hearsay evidence of Kashamu before the court.

The AGF urged the Supreme Court to allow the judgments of the Court of Appeal to enable the Federal government extradite the Senator to USA to prove his innocence or otherwise in the hard drug trafficking criminal charge filed against him by the American government since 2015 when he was alleged to have escaped to Nigeria.

Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, is leading the legal team of the lawmaker while Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, is leading the Federal government legal team at the Apex Court.

The Court of Appeal had on May 4, 2018 delivered a judgment in favour of the federal government to extradite Kashamu who had engaged government in a long drawn legal battle since 2014.

The appellate court in the two separate judgments voided and set aside all orders made by a Federal High Court between 2014 and 2017 restraining the government from proceeding with the extradition.

Justice Joseph Ikyeghi in the judgments marked CA/L/1030/15 and CA/L/1030A/15 in the appeal filed by the AGF held that the orders granted Kashamu by Justice Okon Abang were invalid and unknown to laws because they were based on hearsays and speculations by Senator Kashamu.

The court held that the hearsay, saying that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was instigating the extradition was not established under any law.

The appeal court said that an affidavit deposed to by Kashamu on the issue was worthless and not in compliance with Evidence Act because the senator himself claimed that he was told by several persons who were not called to testify in court.

Justice Ikyeghi held that Justice Abang in his two judgments on the issue erred in law by playing undue reliance on affidavit that contravened Evidence Act to give judgment against the Federal government.

Consequently, the order of injunction stopping the extraction process was voided and set aside.

Justice Ikyeghi had agreed with counsel to the Federal Government Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, that a statutory body like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) can only be prohibited from performing its statutory functions based on facts and not hearsays and speculations as in the instant case.

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Supreme court fixes date to resume FG, senator Kashamu’s extradition legal battle

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on

The Supreme Court has fixed October 17 to resume hearing in an appeal filed by former Senator Buruji Kashamu challenging the Federal government’s move to extradite him to the United States of America (USA) for trial in an alleged hard drug trafficking offence

The long drawn legal battle started in 2014 by Kashamu at the Federal high court to thwart the request of the American government that he be extradited to USA to answer alleged criminal charges filed against him about heroine drug importation into the country.

It was gathered that ten other persons said to have been involved in the alleged drug offence have been tried, convicted and sentenced to various prison terms while Kashamu reportedly escaped and ran back to Nigeria prompting the extradition request against him.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are the key respondents in the two appeals filed by Kashamu to stop the federal government from executing two Appeal Court judgments granted against him.

This is coming as the AGF is making moves to challenge together, the multiple lawsuits filed by Kashamu in various courts on ground of abuse of court processes and use of the suits to harass the Federal government and the NDLEA.

Apart from the two appeals pending in Supreme Court Kashamu has filed two fresh ones at the Federal high court in Abuja before Justice Okon Abang and another one at the Lagos division of the court before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.

The hearing date has been communicated to parties involved in the legal tussle through issuance of hearing notice.

The Apex Court is to review the two judgments delivered in favour of the Federal Government by the Lagos division of Court of Appeal on May 4, 2018.

Kashamu had in his notice of appeal to Supreme Court complained that the Court of Appeal erred in law by voiding and setting aside the two judgments of the Federal High Court, Abuja which barred Federal Government from extraditing him to America.

The ex-senator is praying the Apex Court to set aside the decisions of the Court of Appeal as they affected him.

But government through the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, has joined issues with him over a counter prayer that the Supreme Court should uphold the judgments of the Court of Appeal meant for his extradition.

The AGF claimed that the Appeal Court was right in setting aside two judgments of the High Court because they were based on hearsay evidence of Kashamu before the court.

The AGF urged the Supreme Court to allow the judgments of the Court of Appeal to enable the Federal government extradite the Senator to USA to prove his innocence or otherwise in the hard drug trafficking criminal charge filed against him by the American government since 2015 when he was alleged to have escaped to Nigeria.

Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, is leading the legal team of the lawmaker while Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, is leading the Federal government legal team at the Apex Court.

The Court of Appeal had on May 4, 2018 delivered a judgment in favour of the federal government to extradite Kashamu who had engaged government in a long drawn legal battle since 2014.

The appellate court in the two separate judgments voided and set aside all orders made by a Federal High Court between 2014 and 2017 restraining the government from proceeding with the extradition.

Justice Joseph Ikyeghi in the judgments marked CA/L/1030/15 and CA/L/1030A/15 in the appeal filed by the AGF held that the orders granted Kashamu by Justice Okon Abang were invalid and unknown to laws because they were based on hearsays and speculations by Senator Kashamu.

The court held that the hearsay, saying that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was instigating the extradition was not established under any law.

The appeal court said that an affidavit deposed to by Kashamu on the issue was worthless and not in compliance with Evidence Act because the senator himself claimed that he was told by several persons who were not called to testify in court.

Justice Ikyeghi held that Justice Abang in his two judgments on the issue erred in law by playing undue reliance on affidavit that contravened Evidence Act to give judgment against the Federal government.

Consequently, the order of injunction stopping the extraction process was voided and set aside.

Justice Ikyeghi had agreed with counsel to the Federal Government Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, that a statutory body like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) can only be prohibited from performing its statutory functions based on facts and not hearsays and speculations as in the instant case.

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