The president gave the challenge when he inaugurated the 2019 to 2023 National Economic Council (NEC) and its maiden meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
NEC, which is established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, is chaired by the Vice-President.
Membership of the Council includes governors of the 36 states; the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Agriculture, FCT and the Minister of State, Petroleum.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning serves as Secretary to the Council.
“As you are no doubt aware, our successes in these four areas will go a long way in lifting our people out of poverty and secure our future for sustainable growth and development.’’
According to him, if these four areas (security, education, health and agriculture) are actively implemented and closely monitored by NEC and the Governors’ Forum, “we shall in the near future see a more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.’’
The president enjoined the States to find ways to increase internally generated revenues, improve VAT collection and increase agricultural output without disrupting business activities.
He also charged them to work with the Federal Agencies and the service providers in ensuring that broadband infrastructure is made available all over the country.
According to him, Information and Communication Technology is the future of work and “we must not allow ourselves to be left behind’’.
President Buhari observed that the Federal Government in the last four years had demonstrated unwavering inclusiveness in dealing with every State, notwithstanding the political leaning of the Governor or the predominant party in power at the State level.
“I want this to be your model at the State level. No matter which party we belong to, let us shun divisive policies and join hands together for the upliftment of our people,’’ he said.
He restated the high expectations on NEC as a veritable source of articulating policies and programmes that are expected to drive growth and development, secure the environment and take the country to the next level.
He also noted that the challenges confronting the nation in the next few years, especially in the areas of security, human capital development and employment for the youths are monumental and historic.
“But we are more than equal to the task,’’ he added.
On Security, the president assured that the government would continue to rate security of lives and properties as top priority on its agenda.
He said government was firmly committed to securing the territorial integrity of the nation, while confronting the remnants of terrorists, bandits and other criminals across the country.
He further maintained that there must be collective and deliberate efforts by all to improve the security of lives and properties across the country, saying that “security is a bottom to top operation.
“Everybody must be involved for total success.’’
“Section 18(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended places on all of us here an obligation to eradicate illiteracy and provide free and compulsory education.
“Section 2 of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act provides that every Government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age.
“It is indeed a crime for any parent to keep his child out of school for this period.
“In my view, when a government fails to provide the schools, teachers and teaching materials necessary for basic education, it is actually aiding and abetting that crime.
“This is therefore a call to action. I would like to see every Governor rise from this meeting and rally his local Government Chairmen towards ensuring that our schools offer the right opportunities and provide the needed materials and teachers for basic education, at the minimum.
“If we are able to do this, the benefits will surely manifest themselves.
“Ensuring proper education during the first nine years of schooling means that our children start off their lives with some discipline and education. They will be safeguarded from roaming the streets, and protected from all the evil influences that assail idle hands and idle minds,’’ he said.
President Buhari, therefore, urged the governors to make a firm commitment to be personally involved in ensuring that every child of school age actually goes to school throughout the crucial nine years of basic education.
He opined that, on its own part, the federal government would strive to extend the school feeding programme which will not only encourage school enrolment but also enhance the health and learning capabilities of pupils.
He said the government would also assist states as much as possible to access the counterpart funding provided by UBEC for the development of basic education.
He said: “As I already indicated, public healthcare is also a major sector of concern where States and Local Governments have crucial roles to play.
“Health is an area where the neglect of one person quickly amounts to the neglect of many.
“It is in our collective interest that each and every citizen gets at least a minimal access to healthcare, including primary, preventive and emergency care.
“Funding is again a major problem in this regard, so we must take more seriously the idea of universal health insurance and strive to make it work in our respective domains.
“We must also find ways of assisting the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, who cannot even afford to pay the premium.’’
President Buhari said the governors must resolve to increase budgetary allocation to health and ensure prompt fund releases to keep the hospitals and primary healthcare centres in operation at all times.
According to him, the Federal Government is now implementing the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.
“Accordingly, it is imperative for us to do more on diversifying the economy, and this necessarily entails the sustenance and even acceleration of the agricultural revolution, which is already firmly rooted in some States.
“The potentials are therefore huge, both for the domestic and international markets. Mechanisation and agro-allied industry are very big areas still largely untapped and awaiting investment, both by government and the private sector,’’ he added.
He, therefore, urged the governors to take agriculture most seriously as a very viable developmental enterprise.
While the federal government has primary responsibility for security and will not shy away from it, the president said the governors also have a critical role to play in ensuring security of lives and property across the country.
“You can definitely make a difference, not just by assisting the security agencies in your respective States, but also by keenly pursuing policies and programmes that forestall communal, tribal, religious and societal conflicts; policies and programs that promote education, information, dispute resolution, vocational training and youth employment,’’ he said.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had earlier highlighted the role of NEC, describing it as “an important body that advises and sometimes implements economic and social policies that affects the livelihood of Nigerians’’.
Osinbajo said Thursday’s meeting would be focusing on the crucial issue of national security and the meeting’s recommendations would be forwarded to the president for his possible consideration.
He announced that the meeting had 12 new members, which included the Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Yobe and Zamfara States.
NEC, which is established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, is chaired by the Vice-President.
Membership of the Council includes governors of the 36 states; the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Agriculture, FCT and the Minister of State, Petroleum.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning serves as Secretary to the Council.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Buhari mourns ex-Governor Bamidele Olumilua
The President’s condolence message was conveyed in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Thursday.
The President sympathised with family members, friends and associates of the former governor, who worked very hard to improve infrastructure and livelihood of people in the state.
He affirmed that Olumilua played an active role in the return of democracy in the country, and served as Chairman, Christian Pilgrims Board.
The President prayed that the almighty God would receive the soul of the departed and comfort his family.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Buhari’s agricultural revolution to create 5m jobs, inject $10bn into economy
The President Muhammadu Buhari’s agriculture revolution programme tagged “The Green Imperative’’ will create about five million jobs and inject over 10 billion US Dollar (about N3.8 trillion) into the economy within 10 years.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Thursday at a media briefing to set the stage for the implementation of the mechanised farming programme.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the briefing was jointly addressed by Mohammed and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono.
He said funding for the programme would come from the Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) and Deutsche Bank.
The minister added that insurance was provided by Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency (ABGF) and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit (ICIEC) of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and coordinated by Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
Explaining how the programme would revolutionise agriculture, the minister said six motor assembly plants would be reactivated in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for assemblying of tractors and other implements.
He said 632 mechanisation service centres would also be established to support primary production in the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal Capital Territory.
“This will create 774 service centers nationwide to mechanise our farming methods and process or add value to farm produce locally.
“It will lead to efficiency and eliminate post-harvest losses, thereby cutting down cost of food all year round.
The minister disclosed that private sector operators would operate and manage all the service centres and the assembly plants.
He said no fewer than 100,000 extension workers would be trained within three years and the programme would impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically.
The minister said The Green Imperative dated back to June 6, 2016, when the country decided to enrol in Brazil’s Government-to-Government More Food International Programme (MFIP).
He recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo launched the programme officially on January 17, 2019, in the presence of the representatives of Brazil, Deutsche Bank as well as Brazilian and Nigerian private sector.
For his part, Nanono gave the assurance that the programme would not be hijacked by politicians and that it would be private sector driven while government would only provide the policy framework.
He said participation would be through limited liability companies, cooperative societies and farmers’ associations.
“People must take this programme very serious; they should take the opportunity by beginning to form cooperative societies and farmers’ associations,’’ he said.
The minister said that the youths would be the major target of the mechanised farming programme and would-be participants should not be discouraged by the challenge of insecurity, now being addressed by government.
Buhari greets former Gov. Alao Akala at 70
In a congratulatory message released by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday, the President saluted the Ogbomoso-born grassroots politician.
He lauded him for ability to blend with all classes of society, and touching lives positively.
Appoint Dongban-Mensem substantive Appeal Court President-Plateau House of Assembly begs Buhari
Members of the Plateau House of Assembly have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Acting President, Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, in a substantive capacity.
Buhari on May 29, extended her acting appointment for another three months.
The Plateau lawmakers during plenary on Tuesday, appealed to the President to appoint her in substantive capacity stating that she eminently qualified to be so appointed.
Mr Philip Dasun (APC, Pankshin North) who moved the motion of urgent public importance, said,”Mr Speaker, it is expected that she would be appointed in substantive capacity after three months in acting capacity.
“We are calling on other authorised bodies to lend their voice to this call,” he said.
Group petitions Buhari over lopsidedness in siting of educational institutions in Ebonyi
The Ebonyi North Elders Consultative Assembly has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari against the siting of the newly approved Federal College of Education in Isu community in Ebonyi South Senatorial District.
In the petition, the group stated that the decision by the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) to site the college in the area defeated the principle of fairness, equity and justice.
It argued that two of the three federal tertiary educational institutions in the state had already been sited in Ebonyi south, hence the district did not deserve to have more.
It was captioned, “An Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria: Petition against the siting of the Federal College of Education (allocated to Ebonyi) at Isu, Onitcha LGA in Ebonyi South Senatorial District.”
It demanded that the institution be sited in any area in Ebonyi North Senatorial Distric, comprising Izzi, Ohaukwu, Ebonyi and Abakaliki LGAs, in line with the nation’s Federal Character principle.
The assembly, which comprises leaders of thought from the district, commended the president and the National Assembly for approving the establishment of the college in the state.
It said: “We believe that the selection of Ebonyi, alongside four others, was meant to ensure that states that hitherto had no federal tertiary educational institutions were accommodated in line with federal character principle.
“This is in contradiction to the principle of fairness, equity and justice, considering the indisputable fact that the district has two of the three federal tertiary institutions in the state, namely Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic and Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu.
“Despite far-reaching representations made by various groups, the FME went ahead to approve the siting of the college at Isu community in Ebonyi South, thereby making the district to have three federal educational institutions.”
The group stated that the development could worsen the already skewed distribution of federal tertiary institutions in the state, if not reversed.
The petition was signed by 15 members of the assembly, including Prof. Richard Idike, former Vice Chancellor of Ebonyi State University, Sen. Chris Nwankwo, Sen. Sylvester Ngele, Rt. Rev Monday Nkwoegu, the Bishop of Abakaliki Anglican Communion.
Others were Rev. Emmanuel Nshii, State Overseer, Assemblies of God Church; Chief Austin Edeze, Chairman, Governing Council, Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti; and Eze Fidelis Nwaonumara, Chairman, Izzi/Nnodo Traditional Rulers Council, among others.
Buhari greets Otunba Oyin Jolayemi at 80
The President, in a congratulatory message released by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday, congratulated the elder statesman for ”investments that have transformed the economy of the country, and greatly impacted on the citizenry.”
President Buhari affirmed that Otunba Jolayemi’s entrepreneurial spirit, which spurred investments in banking, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, deserved commendation, especially the growing profile of his companies and training of many to start their own businesses.
He acknowledged the visionary role Jolayemi had played as an industrialist for more than 40 years in the financial sector of the country, particularly raising infrastructure that served his businesses and community, and building confidence in the economy through international exhibition of his products.
The President believed the ”industrialist can joyfully look back, with three of his scions already involved in the family business, and be thankful to God for the grace of a good lineage.”
President Buhari joined family, friends and business associates of the philanthropist in celebrating the milestone, praying that the almighty God would grant him longer life and more strength.
Ministry of Defence, others make presentations as Buhari presides over virtual FEC
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday presided over the third virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Ministries of Defence, Environment, Works and Housing as well as Finance, Budget and National Planning are expected to make presentations during the meeting.
Others Ministers present along side with the President at the chamber, and are expected to make presentations include those of Water Resources, Justice, and Aviation while the remaining ministers would be participating in the meeting from their respective offices.
Those in attendance of the meeting included Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President and Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Buhari condemns killing of UNIBEN student, Omozuwa
The president on his verified twitter page: @MBuhari on Tuesday directed the police to speedily and diligently investigate the case and ”ensure that all the culprits responsible for this barbaric act are brought to justice.
”I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Uwaila Omozuwa.
”I expect the Nigeria Police Force to speedily and diligently investigate this case and ensure that all the culprits responsible for this barbaric act are brought to justice,” the president stated.
Omozuwa, a 22-year-old microbiology student, believed to be a virgin, was raped and killed in a church where she went to conduct academic activities.
The killing of the university student has horrified many people across the country with human rights groups, public figures and government officials demanding justice for the deceased.
The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had on her twitter handle: @abikedabiri disclosed that one person had been apprehended in connection with the killing of Omozuwa.
She said the arrest was facilitated through the thumbprint of the suspect on the fire extinguisher used in attacking the victim.
Buhari commiserates with Delta fire victims
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday commiserated with victims of the Ogbogonogo fire disaster in Delta, assuring them that they would not bear the burden of the incident alone.
The president spoke through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, who led a team to visit Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa at Government House, Asaba.
The team, accompanied by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, conveyed the feelings of Buhari to the governor.
Buhari commended the measures taken by Okowa to curb the spread of the fire and also reducing its effects on traders.
“The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is with the State Emergency Management Agency to assist these hard working Nigerians, whose sources of livelihood were affected by fire.
“We need to let them know that once there is life, there is hope.
“We are also commending you and your team for the quick response which gave hope to the people.
“Immediately, we got wind of the incident, we sent relief materials to the state to cushion the effect of the fire on the people,” the president said.
Okowa expressed delight that Buhari was quick to respond to the fire incident.
He noted that only the creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development could have made that prompt response possible.
“We want to express our gratitude to you and through you (minister) to our president.
“This visit is a thoughtful visit concerning the fire at Ogbogonogo Market.
“We have a warm relationship with NEMA and we are supporting the activities of your Ministry as it concerns assisting the needy in society.
“As a State Government, our youths are participating in different skill acquisition and wealth creation programmes.
“We have different programmes to support widows. We also have programmes for the less-privileged and the vulnerable.
“We appreciate this visit,” the governor said.
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