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EFCC Arrests One for Alleged Naira Abuse in Gombe

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Investigators at the Gombe Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , EFCC, have arrested one Zachariyya Muhammad for allegedly abusing the Nigerian currency in Gombe State.

Muhammad was arrested on Saturday, May 25, 2024 based on intelligence linking him with alleged spraying of Naira notes at G- Connect in Tunfure, Gombe State

Upon his arrest, he was shown a video where he was dancing and spraying Naira notes in N200( Two Hundred Naira) denomination. He admitted being the one in the video.

He will be charged to court upon conclusion of investigations.

Sextortion: FBI’s Witness Revealed How Defendant Demanded $200 From Late Victim

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Ayotunde Solademi, a Foreign Service National Investigator with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI and second prosecution witness, PW2, in the ongoing trial of Muideen Olamilekan Teslim, on Monday, May 27, 2024, told Justice Dehinde Dipeolu of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, how the defendant threatened to release the unclad pictures of his late victim, if he did not pay him the sum of $200( Two Hundred Dollars only).

Teslim is standing trial on a six-count charge bordering on possession of child pornography and sextortion brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Muideen Teslim Olamilekan (a.k.a joyamanda), on or about the 18th of April, 2022 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, intentionally had in your possession child pornography of a minor in your account joyamandan645@gmail.com and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 23(1)(e) of the of Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act, 2015.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were read to him.

At the resumed sitting on Monday, Solademi, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Bilkisu Buhari, told the court that the FBI and the EFCC, sometime in July 2023, conducted a joint operation code-named Operation Artemis, which focused on financial sextortion cases.

Solademi, in his testimony, said the Child Exploitation Operational Unit of the FBI, sometime in April 2023, was called to a case involving a 15-year-old American male, who was befriended by a supposedly 16-year-old female named Joy Amanda.

He added that “They were both chatting on a social media platform called Wink. The email address used by Joy Amanda on Wink is joyamanda646@gmail.com.

“When they both met on Wink, Joy Amanda sent some nude pictures to the victim and requested the victim to also send his nude pictures. The victim, believing that the pictures he received were from the person he was chatting with, then sent nude pictures of himself to Joy Amanda. After Joy Amanda received the pictures, he made a picture collage, sent back to the victim and threatened that he would share the picture with all the victim’s contacts if the victim doesn’t send $200.

“Joy Amanda told the victim to send the money through CashApp, PayPal or Apple Gift card and gave a username for these accounts. The user name was Muideenteslim278@gmail.com.”

In his further testimony, Solademi informed the court that while law enforcement officers were speaking to the victim in his house, a call came in through the victim’s phone, threatening the victim.

According to him, “the caller ID showed Joy Amanda. The person speaking on the other side had a male voice. He was threatening that if he didn’t send the money, the picture would be released to the contacts.

“Thirty minutes after law enforcement agents left the victim’s house, a call was pulled through to the law enforcement by the victim’s parent that the victim shot himself in the head because of the incessant threat he received from the so-called Joy Amanda and he died.”

Narrating the steps taken by the law enforcement officers during investigations, the PW2 further told the court that “Legal processes were served by the FBI to Wink, Google and WhatsApp. Wink provided the email associated with Joy Amanda as joyamanda645@gmail.com. FBI then proceeded to serve legal processes on Google with the email address of Joy Amanda and the username that was provided for payment that is muideenteslim278@gmail.com.

“The response from Gmail showed that the recovery email for Joy Amanda is a Glo phone number ending with 9664, while that of Muideen Teslim is an Airtel phone number ending with 5098.

“Google revealed that the IP address of Joy Amanda was coming from Nigeria. Likewise, WhatsApp responded that the phone number ended with 9664, a glo number.

“All the evidence and pictures were packaged into a petition and was submitted as one of the cases under Operation Artemis. “

Buhari, thereafter, asked the PW2 if he could identify the request from the office of the Legal Attache in the US consulate to prosecute under Nigerian Law written to the EFCC, as well as other evidence against the defendant.

The prosecution counsel applied to tender the same and they were admitted as exhibits.

When PW2 was asked to confirm certain details on the exhibits, he said,
“In Exhibit 7, the glo number attached to JoyAmanda645@gmail.com is 08071489664, while the Airtel number attached to muideenteslim278@gmail.com is 08127015068.

“In Exhibit 6, the wallet number on the Opay account opening package of Muideen Teslim is 8071489664 and the BVN number is 22377813795

“In Exhibit 3, on the google account personal info, the email address is joyamanda646@gmail.com and the phone number attached is 08071389664.”

He also confirmed the picture collage that Joy Amanda sent to the victim.

When asked during cross-examination by the defence counsel, A.J. Adejuwon, for the victim’s name, the witness said: “The name of the victim was withheld to protect the family’s privacy. The victim stayed in Magnolia, U.S A., before his death.”

The witness also clarified that the explicit photos were not shared with the EFCC to prevent further distribution.

Upon discharge of PW2, Adejuwon applied before the court to file a no-case submission.

Justice Dipeolu adjourned the matter to July 4, 2024 for ruling on no-case submission.

EFCC Arrests Seven for Alleged Illegal Mining Activities in Ilorin

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Operatives of the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC have arrested seven suspects for offences bordering on illegal mining activities, and two others for offering N1.2million bribe to compromise the operatives of the Commission.

The arrest, which followed credible intelligence and days of surveillance, was carried out on Friday, May 24, 2024 at Ogbomosho, Oyo State. The suspects are Waliyu Abidoye, Abubakar Auwal, Abdulrauf Hakim, Sabiu Usman, Salihu Godwin, Dauda Mohammed and Olalekan Aremu.

At the point of arrest, five truckloads of assorted minerals suspected to be lepidolite, lithium and precious stone among others were recovered from the suspects.

Investigations revealed that the suspects were not licensed miners and did not have requisite authority to purchase and possess the minerals. They were also not paying royalties to the Federal and States Governments, as required by law.

The Commission also arrested two other persons, Faleti Waheed and Noah Olalekan who allegedly offered N1.2million bribe to the operatives in order to secure the release of one of the sized trucks.

The duo of Waheed and Olalekan approached the EFCC operatives at the point of arrest and negotiated to give them money in order to have their seized truck released. The officers played along and got the suspects arrested at the point of delivering the money.

The sum of N995,500 (Nine Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand, Five Hundred Naira) only was recovered from Waheed who claimed to be a manager at a filling station in Ogbomosho while the sum of N201,000 (Two Hundred and One Thousand Naira) only was recovered from Olalekan who claimed to be a scavenger.

The suspects will be arraigned in court upon conclusion of ongoing investigations.

TINUBU TO EExxonMobilEXECUTIVES: EXECUTIVE ORDERS ON OIL AND GAS REFORMS WILL MAKE NIGERIA GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE

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President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday in Abuja, said the three Executive Orders on oil and gas reforms, which he signed, will make Nigeria’s petroleum sector globally competitive.

The President made the affirmation during a meeting with a delegation from ExxonMobil Upstream Company, led by its President, Liam Mallon.

He emphasized that these reforms will ensure that no oil company faces undue challenges in the country.

The three Executive Orders, which became effective from February 28, 2024, are: Oil and Gas Companies (Tax Incentives, Exemption, Remission, etc.) Order, 2024; Presidential Directive on Local Content Compliance Requirements, 2024; and the Presidential Directive on Reduction of Petroleum Sector Contracting Costs and Timelines.

President Tinubu also assured the ExxonMobil delegation that the federal government is committed to resolving the divestment issues between the company and Seplat Energy, which are currently under litigation.

“We have been pushing for closure on divestment issues, and I believe the other party, Seplat, is open to this,” the President said.

The President commended the company for its show of commitment to environmental protection in Nigeria, noting its efforts in reducing gas flaring in the country.

“Nigeria is going through a lot of reforms, and we have been navigating the leadership quarters carefully to ensure that we achieve a win-win situation for all parties and attract more investments,” President Tinubu said.

The President described ExxonMobil as a worthy partner in Nigeria’s development over the decades and urged the company to remain committed to contributing to the success of his administration.

“We are close enough to be fair and blunt with you, and we are not afraid to hear from you on better options and recommendations for the growth of the industry in Nigeria,” the President said.

The meeting, also attended by Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), and Ekperikpe Ekpo, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), discussed issues such as divestment, decommissioning, and abandonment as regards the company.

“Mr President has given a clear directive to the NNPC GCEO and me to resolve the issue of divestment, and we are doing whatever we can to achieve that,” Lokpobiri stated.

On decommissioning and abandonment in the oil industry, Lokpobiri noted that the ministry is addressing the matter in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and global best practices.

“The reforms driven by the three Executive Orders will ensure that companies operating in Nigeria have the best environment to continue making their investments and that no company will seek to leave Nigeria,” the Minister said.

Liam Mallon, the President of ExxonMobil Upstream Company, expressed his appreciation for the support and reassurances provided by the Nigerian government and pledged the company’s long-term commitment to the country’s energy sector.

He also commended President Tinubu for his courage and conviction to undertake bold reforms within his first year in office.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)

Atiku Abubakar Is Befogged With Political Envy – APC

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The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has not let up on his vilipending of the outstanding first-year record of achievements of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration. In his latest statement, Atiku claimed that Mr. President was not ready for reforms, dismissing his policies as “trial and error.”

Atiku’s self-serving efforts to minimize the bold, genuine and metamorphic policies and interventions of the present administration only smacks of primordial political envy and crass desperation for the power that Nigerians have so wisely denied him. The former Vice President lives in an alternate reality of prejudice and unpatriotic desire for Nigeria’s failure so he may scavenge his way to an even more elusive presidency.

Quite contrary to Atiku’s claim, President Bola Tinubu’s administration has, in its first year in office, attracted over $20 billion into the economy while the stock exchange has ballooned from N18.12 billion in Q1 of 2023 to N93.37 billion in Q1 of 2024, representing an increase of over 400 per cent with an annual economic growth rate leaping from 2.5 percent to 3.46 percent. Key sectors of manufacturing, telecommunications, oil and gas, solid minerals, e-commerce and fintech have continued to attract increased and ceaseless flow of foreign direct investments (FDIs). Yet, Atiku remains willfully blind to the pace of progress that is so self-evident.

President Tinubu set an audacious target of building a $1 trillion economy in the next few years and has put together a bevy of experts and professionals, and introduced far-reaching policies and programmes to drive the actualization of this desirable economic target. The President needs the support and encouragement of Nigerians, not the bile-filled pessimism of partisan Atikus.

Atiku’s false alarm of an imminent food scarcity boldface ignores the widely acknowledged proactive measures already introduced by President Tinubu to guarantee food security in the country. In December 2023, the Federal Government set a target for the cultivation of 500,000 hectates of land across the federation. Cultivation of rice, maize, wheat and cassava on over 246,231 hectares of land in 30 states of the federation is in progress in addition to approving massive grants and other incentives to farmers.

The former Vice President’s swipe on the administration’s national security management again betrays his lack of touch with the reality of the our current situation. Not only did the administration revamp and reconfigure the country’s security apparatus, it created a Special Security Fund to boost its superiority and operational effectiveness against merchants of crime and insecurity. Yet, Atiku turns a blind eye to considerable improvement in our security, especially in the North East where Atiku hails from.

The same Atiku that accused the administration of lacking compassion for the people and failing to provide palliatives to cushion the transient onerous effects of inevitable and vitally necessary economic policies turns around to recommend a review of social investment policies he suggests were nonexistent. He also conveniently ignored ongoing serious negotiations with Labour Unions on the upward review of minimum wage for workers in the country all meant to improve their welfare while the benefits of reforms reach that certain fullness.

Beyond his preferred economic blueprint of selling off our prized national assets to his friends and cronies, Atiku’s only notable contribution to Nigeria’s development has been his unquenched and unquenchable hunger pang for power for his less than altruistic purpose. Atiku cannot achieve in eight years what President Tinubu has accomplished in his first year in office.

And yes, the occasion is the first year anniversary of President Tinubu’s administration, not four or eight-years in review. The opposition’s efforts to burden the administration with ceaseless, contrived, unjustified and diversionary reproval is grossly miscalculated and misled. The sheer length of Atiku’s prevaricative epistle of a statement is testament to the expanse of the administration’s policy and programme uptake in 365 short days.

President Bola Tinubu remains unshakable in his commitment to building concrete blocks of progress and greatness for Nigeria. While Atiku and his band of mudslingers idle away, the President will continue, unstoppably, to deliver high grade infrastructure not only in our nation’s capital, Abuja, but all around the country.

EFCC Warns Nigerians of Alarming Rise in Phishing Activities

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has issued a public alert regarding an alarming rise in phishing activities targeting unsuspecting individuals across various digital platforms.

In recent months, the Commission has observed a surge in fraudulent schemes designed to deceive individuals into disclosing sensitive personal information, including financial details, through deceptive emails, text messages, social media messengers, and fake websites.

Phishers often impersonate reputable organizations, financial institutions, or government agencies to exploit the trust of their victims for illicit gains. The EFCC emphasizes the critical importance of vigilance and caution when encountering unsolicited communications or unfamiliar links, especially those requesting sensitive information or promising financial benefits.

Individuals are advised to verify the authenticity of any communication or website before divulging personal details or engaging in financial transactions. The Commission urges the public to promptly report any suspected phishing attempts or fraudulent activities to its nearest Zonal Command or the nearest law enforcement agency. Timely reporting enables swift action to be taken to disrupt criminal operations and protect potential victims from financial losses and identity theft.

For further inquiries or to report phishing attempts, call the EFCC hotline at +2348093322644 or send an email to info@efcc.gov.ng.

EFCC Warns Nigerians of Alarming Rise in Phishing Activities

0

EFCC Warns Nigerians of Alarming Rise in Phishing Activities

 

 

 

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has issued a public alert regarding an alarming rise in phishing activities targeting unsuspecting individuals across various digital platforms.

 

In recent months, the Commission has observed a surge in fraudulent schemes designed to deceive individuals into disclosing sensitive personal information, including financial details, through deceptive emails, text messages, social media messengers, and fake websites.

 

Phishers often impersonate reputable organizations, financial institutions, or government agencies to exploit the trust of their victims for illicit gains. The EFCC emphasizes the critical importance of vigilance and caution when encountering unsolicited communications or unfamiliar links, especially those requesting sensitive information or promising financial benefits.

 

Individuals are advised to verify the authenticity of any communication or website before divulging personal details or engaging in financial transactions. The Commission urges the public to promptly report any suspected phishing attempts or fraudulent activities to its nearest Zonal Command or the nearest law enforcement agency. Timely reporting enables swift action to be taken to disrupt criminal operations and protect potential victims from financial losses and identity theft.

 

For further inquiries or to report phishing attempts, call the EFCC hotline at +2348093322644 or send an email to info@efcc.gov.ng.

One year after: the Legacy Man and his strides

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By Bayo Onanuga

One year after being in the saddle, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be the first person to admit that the ride has been bumpy. He is also the first to say he is unfazed by the turbulence as he remains focused on the marathon of the next three years. The past year has been months of baby steps, months of laying the foundations for the next three years of canter.

As Nigeria’s 16th President, Tinubu, during his campaign for the office, said he would make difficult decisions and that running the country would not be business as usual.

From day one, he sought to fulfill his promises, beginning from his earthshaking ‘subsidy is gone’ announcement at the Eagle Square, on the day he was sworn in. The announcement reverberated around the country and beyond. He was not just actualising a promise he made. He was also affecting the consensus of all the major candidates in the 2023 election that the several decades old, wasteful subsidy must end.

His administration followed this up with the decision to harmonise the foreign exchange rates. The multiple exchange rates executed under his predecessor had given room to various abuses, among which was arbitrage, where people close to the power loop made humongous money, getting forex at the official rate and offloading it at the so-called parallel market for almost 100 percent profit. Both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank advised the Nigerian government to end the policy, to no avail, as forex obligations piled up, FDI’s dried up, and investors shunned Nigeria. Tinubu knew that to reset the economy and build renewed confidence locally and internationally, there must be a policy change. He took the measure, just as he promised during the campaign, with the government announcing that it wanted to harmonise the rates in ‘weeks’. The financial world took notice that Nigeria is at the cusp of great change.

Although it has taken months to achieve the harmony, with the Naira in the interregnum, taking a massive bashing from the dollar. The heavily hurt currency at a stage fell to about N1,900 to the dollar, with the naysayers and the opposition predicting a total destruction of the currency. Their wish did not come to pass, as the currency rebounded to earn global acclaim as the world’s best performing currency. After weeks of amassing muscle against the US dollar, the Nigerian currency weakened again. Now, the monetary authorities are working hard to ensure the currency did not fall into the abyss like it did in February, before the rebound.

Together with the abrogation of the subsidy regime, the forex harmonisation policy triggered an inflationary rage, with food inflation hitting unprecedented levels. Cost of living rose countrywide. Some analysts, however, blamed the inflation on other factors such as insecurity that prevented farmers from going to farm and the poor state of roads, that escalated transportation costs, pushing up the costs of virtually everything.

The administration responded on many fronts with a raft of ameliorative policies. Last December, it offered subsidised bus transport and free train service to Nigerians going home for Christmas and New Year. The subsidy was also offered for the return journeys. Over 200,000 Nigerians benefited from the bus service.

In agriculture, the government declared a food emergency, launched a massive dry season farming in important crops such as wheat and maize, along with assisting farmers with N100 billion worth of fertilisers. The government released 43,000 metric tonnes of grains in the reserves and bought another 60,000 metric tonnes of rice from local millers for distribution to the people. States, rich individuals, National Assembly members joined in distributing food and cash to the vulnerable millions in the country. For months, food inflation resisted all the measures, hitting 33 percent in April. Government also rejected the panicky measure of importing food, reposing confidence in the Nigerian farmers, that from their yields, Nigeria will overcome its food crisis. In recent weeks, the news from the markets has been that some food prices are going down.

As part of the ameliorative measures, the Tinubu administration announced wage awards of N35,000 to Federal workers to enable them cope with food inflation and transport costs, as it works out a new national minimum wage. It announced in July last year the Presidential CNG Initiative. Under the programme, that will herald a new industry and new jobs, hundreds of buses and tricycles, which will be powered by Compressed Natural Gas(CNG), will be locally assembled for countrywide rollout. Some of the vehicles will be electric for use in some Nigerian states, where CNG is not readily available. A panel to drive the vision was inaugurated in October 2023. However, bureaucratic delays slowed its procurement work. A large number of the buses and tricycles will be available as part of the ceremonies to mark the first anniversary of the Tinubu administration.

Businesses were not left out of government’s mitigation measures. The Bank of Industry, in conjunction with Federal Ministry of Industry,Trade and Investment, is implementing Presidential Conditional Grant Programme for nano businesses. Disbursement of N50,000 each to the applicants that registered began in April. Beneficiaries included retail marketers, corner shop owners, petty traders, market men and women, food and vegetable vendors, vulcanisers and and shoemakers. Over 1,000,000 nano businesses are targeted. To help big businesses, Government announced an aid package of N1billion each to 75 of them.

The Tinubu government also approved $617 million for up-skilling Nigerian youths, providing startup funding, catalytic infrastructure, and policy advocacy. Youths with digital skills are now registering to benefit from the fund, being administered by the Bank of Industry.

In a country with 200 million people and tax to GDP ratio less than 10 percent, President Tinubu knew from day one, that it will be difficult to make any great, historic impact, if he fails to tinker with the tax structure and bring more money into the national purse. He announced his plan by setting up the Oyedele Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy Reform, which is winding up its work and has recommended far-reaching reforms in the tax regime. President Tinubu also changed the leadership of the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) to plug revenue holes and introduce creative ways to increase revenue without necessarily overburdening the people. The result has been astonishing. Government now takes 50 percent of the revenue of the MDAs, with record N840 billion recorded in the first quarter. The NNPC was ordered to remit its dollar earnings into CBN. Revenue inflow generally is increasing. FIRS is working towards increasing the percentage of tax to GDP to about 20 percent.

The inflow of money is making the Tinubu administration dream big and plan big. With Renewed Hope Infrastructure Fund due for launch, the government is already embarking on legacy projects, such as the 700 kilometre Lagos-Calabar Coastal Superhighway, which began in March. Government also plans to reactivate the Sokoto Illela-Badagry Superhighway, which was abandoned in 1976. Many roads and bridges in state of disrepair are to be refurbished. There are plans for rail. Funding for the Ibadan-Abuja-Kaduna rail is being arranged. Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail will be resuscitated while the Kano-Kastina-Maradi rail line, started by the Buhari administration will be completed with $2billion dollar loan already secured.

Government has not been short about rolling out several policy initiatives, from the issuance of travelling passports, which has been made quicker, to the planned implementation of some aspects of the Oronsaye report, to cut the costs of governance.

Notably, President Tinubu issued an executive order to enhance investment in the oil and gas sector. The quick fruits of the policy was the opening of three big gas plants in the Niger Delta by the President in recent weeks. Mega investments running into over $15 billion are expected in weeks.

The Tinubu administration has also fulfilled some of the campaign promises with the students loans and Credit Corp ready for take off. To President Tinubu, no Nigerian child should be denied education because the parents could not afford it. He also hopes that the Credit Corp will enhance the purchasing power of workers and boost national commerce.

President Tinubu at various occasions has acknowledged the pains that some of his reforms are causing the generality of our people. But he says they are pains we must bear to make progress as a nation. An ever caring leader, he is always evolving measures to help reduce the pains. Best of all, he listens to the voice of the people and make necessary adjustments.

In one of the most profound analysis of our situation and an endorsement of the reforms being executed by the Tinubu administration, Planning and Budget Minister, Atiku Bagudu said in a recent interview: “We want to be like Asian countries, we want to grow like Brazil but Brazil and those Asian countries that we want, (that) we are competing with, have taken measures that we needed to have taken decades ago.

“The president is even bold to acknowledge that. Let’s do it now. Some of these measures have consequences which we acknowledge. And that’s why again, a number of measures are introduced in order to ameliorate the situation.

“These measures are helpful to Nigeria, irrespective of North or South because they are to restore macroeconomic stability, to restore security in the country and make it better so that investors will feel confident”.

-Onanuga is Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to President Tinubu

 

One year after: the Legacy Man and his strides

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By Bayo Onanuga

One year after being in the saddle, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be the first person to admit that the ride has been bumpy. He is also the first to say he is unfazed by the turbulence as he remains focused on the marathon of the next three years. The past year has been months of baby steps, months of laying the foundations for the next three years of canter.

As Nigeria’s 16th President, Tinubu, during his campaign for the office, said he would make difficult decisions and that running the country would not be business as usual.

From day one, he sought to fulfill his promises, beginning from his earthshaking ‘subsidy is gone’ announcement at the Eagle Square, on the day he was sworn in. The announcement reverberated around the country and beyond. He was not just actualising a promise he made. He was also affecting the consensus of all the major candidates in the 2023 election that the several decades old, wasteful subsidy must end.

His administration followed this up with the decision to harmonise the foreign exchange rates. The multiple exchange rates executed under his predecessor had given room to various abuses, among which was arbitrage, where people close to the power loop made humongous money, getting forex at the official rate and offloading it at the so-called parallel market for almost 100 percent profit. Both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank advised the Nigerian government to end the policy, to no avail, as forex obligations piled up, FDI’s dried up, and investors shunned Nigeria. Tinubu knew that to reset the economy and build renewed confidence locally and internationally, there must be a policy change. He took the measure, just as he promised during the campaign, with the government announcing that it wanted to harmonise the rates in ‘weeks’. The financial world took notice that Nigeria is at the cusp of great change.

Although it has taken months to achieve the harmony, with the Naira in the interregnum, taking a massive bashing from the dollar. The heavily hurt currency at a stage fell to about N1,900 to the dollar, with the naysayers and the opposition predicting a total destruction of the currency. Their wish did not come to pass, as the currency rebounded to earn global acclaim as the world’s best performing currency. After weeks of amassing muscle against the US dollar, the Nigerian currency weakened again. Now, the monetary authorities are working hard to ensure the currency did not fall into the abyss like it did in February, before the rebound.

Together with the abrogation of the subsidy regime, the forex harmonisation policy triggered an inflationary rage, with food inflation hitting unprecedented levels. Cost of living rose countrywide. Some analysts, however, blamed the inflation on other factors such as insecurity that prevented farmers from going to farm and the poor state of roads, that escalated transportation costs, pushing up the costs of virtually everything.

The administration responded on many fronts with a raft of ameliorative policies. Last December, it offered subsidised bus transport and free train service to Nigerians going home for Christmas and New Year. The subsidy was also offered for the return journeys. Over 200,000 Nigerians benefited from the bus service.

In agriculture, the government declared a food emergency, launched a massive dry season farming in important crops such as wheat and maize, along with assisting farmers with N100 billion worth of fertilisers. The government released 43,000 metric tonnes of grains in the reserves and bought another 60,000 metric tonnes of rice from local millers for distribution to the people. States, rich individuals, National Assembly members joined in distributing food and cash to the vulnerable millions in the country. For months, food inflation resisted all the measures, hitting 33 percent in April. Government also rejected the panicky measure of importing food, reposing confidence in the Nigerian farmers, that from their yields, Nigeria will overcome its food crisis. In recent weeks, the news from the markets has been that some food prices are going down.

As part of the ameliorative measures, the Tinubu administration announced wage awards of N35,000 to Federal workers to enable them cope with food inflation and transport costs, as it works out a new national minimum wage. It announced in July last year the Presidential CNG Initiative. Under the programme, that will herald a new industry and new jobs, hundreds of buses and tricycles, which will be powered by Compressed Natural Gas(CNG), will be locally assembled for countrywide rollout. Some of the vehicles will be electric for use in some Nigerian states, where CNG is not readily available. A panel to drive the vision was inaugurated in October 2023. However, bureaucratic delays slowed its procurement work. A large number of the buses and tricycles will be available as part of the ceremonies to mark the first anniversary of the Tinubu administration.

Businesses were not left out of government’s mitigation measures. The Bank of Industry, in conjunction with Federal Ministry of Industry,Trade and Investment, is implementing Presidential Conditional Grant Programme for nano businesses. Disbursement of N50,000 each to the applicants that registered began in April. Beneficiaries included retail marketers, corner shop owners, petty traders, market men and women, food and vegetable vendors, vulcanisers and and shoemakers. Over 1,000,000 nano businesses are targeted. To help big businesses, Government announced an aid package of N1billion each to 75 of them.

The Tinubu government also approved $617 million for up-skilling Nigerian youths, providing startup funding, catalytic infrastructure, and policy advocacy. Youths with digital skills are now registering to benefit from the fund, being administered by the Bank of Industry.

In a country with 200 million people and tax to GDP ratio less than 10 percent, President Tinubu knew from day one, that it will be difficult to make any great, historic impact, if he fails to tinker with the tax structure and bring more money into the national purse. He announced his plan by setting up the Oyedele Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy Reform, which is winding up its work and has recommended far-reaching reforms in the tax regime. President Tinubu also changed the leadership of the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) to plug revenue holes and introduce creative ways to increase revenue without necessarily overburdening the people. The result has been astonishing. Government now takes 50 percent of the revenue of the MDAs, with record N840 billion recorded in the first quarter. The NNPC was ordered to remit its dollar earnings into CBN. Revenue inflow generally is increasing. FIRS is working towards increasing the percentage of tax to GDP to about 20 percent.

The inflow of money is making the Tinubu administration dream big and plan big. With Renewed Hope Infrastructure Fund due for launch, the government is already embarking on legacy projects, such as the 700 kilometre Lagos-Calabar Coastal Superhighway, which began in March. Government also plans to reactivate the Sokoto Illela-Badagry Superhighway, which was abandoned in 1976. Many roads and bridges in state of disrepair are to be refurbished. There are plans for rail. Funding for the Ibadan-Abuja-Kaduna rail is being arranged. Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail will be resuscitated while the Kano-Kastina-Maradi rail line, started by the Buhari administration will be completed with $2billion dollar loan already secured.

Government has not been short about rolling out several policy initiatives, from the issuance of travelling passports, which has been made quicker, to the planned implementation of some aspects of the Oronsaye report, to cut the costs of governance.

Notably, President Tinubu issued an executive order to enhance investment in the oil and gas sector. The quick fruits of the policy was the opening of three big gas plants in the Niger Delta by the President in recent weeks. Mega investments running into over $15 billion are expected in weeks.

The Tinubu administration has also fulfilled some of the campaign promises with the students loans and Credit Corp ready for take off. To President Tinubu, no Nigerian child should be denied education because the parents could not afford it. He also hopes that the Credit Corp will enhance the purchasing power of workers and boost national commerce.

President Tinubu at various occasions has acknowledged the pains that some of his reforms are causing the generality of our people. But he says they are pains we must bear to make progress as a nation. An ever caring leader, he is always evolving measures to help reduce the pains. Best of all, he listens to the voice of the people and make necessary adjustments.

In one of the most profound analysis of our situation and an endorsement of the reforms being executed by the Tinubu administration, Planning and Budget Minister, Atiku Bagudu said in a recent interview: “We want to be like Asian countries, we want to grow like Brazil but Brazil and those Asian countries that we want, (that) we are competing with, have taken measures that we needed to have taken decades ago.

“The president is even bold to acknowledge that. Let’s do it now. Some of these measures have consequences which we acknowledge. And that’s why again, a number of measures are introduced in order to ameliorate the situation.

“These measures are helpful to Nigeria, irrespective of North or South because they are to restore macroeconomic stability, to restore security in the country and make it better so that investors will feel confident”.

-Onanuga is Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to President Tinubu

𝐒𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐀𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐆𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐃𝐞𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐁𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫𝐨’𝐬 𝐏𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭 𝐄𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐎𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫

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𝐒𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐀𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐆𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐃𝐞𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐁𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫𝐨’𝐬 𝐏𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭 𝐄𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐎𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫

 

Security and military personnel are reportedly still securing the mini-palace in the Nasarawa area of Kano State, where the deposed 15th Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, is occupying, despite a court order for his eviction.

 

According to Channels TV, stern-looking armed soldiers and policemen were seen around the mini-palace.

 

PUNCH had earlier reported that a Kano State High Court presided over by Justice Amina Aliyu ordered the police to evict the deposed Emir from the palace.

 

The court, which gave the order on Monday, also issued an interim injunction restraining Bayero and four other dethroned emirs from parading themselves as emirs, pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice filed by applicants.

 

The state Deputy Governor, Aminu Abdussalam, also said that Bayero’s presence in Kano posed a threat to the peace and stability cherished by its people.

 

Credit: X| Imranmuhdz, Channelstv