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Osinbajo will not be distracted by campaigns of lies, calumny—Aide

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Osinbajo will not be distracted by campaigns of lies, calumny—Aide


Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will not be distracted by campaigns of lies and calumny.

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President has said.

 

Akande, in a statement in Abuja, dismissed as false and baseless fabrications claiming to reflect goings-on at the probe panel investigating Mr Ibrahim Magu.

Magu, the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is being probed by a Presidential Investigation Committee over alleged malpractices and abuse of office.

“The attention of the Office of the Vice President has been drawn to a series of tweets and online publications by PointBlank News and Newsreel.com.ng on July 8 credited to the same person, one Jackson Ude.

“In essence, Ude’s story is that “embattled former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, allegedly embezzled over N39 billion and gave Osinabjo (sic) N4 billion, after the vice president gave instructions to him to release some of the recovered loots…”

He said the same Jackson Ude had also been circulating a video on YouTube with a female commentator, peddling the same lies.

“With all emphasis at our disposal, let it be firmly stated that these are totally false and baseless fabrications purporting to reflect goings-on at the probe panel investigating Magu; they are indeed completely absurd in every respect.

“Sadly, such mindless, vicious and reckless publications have now become the preferred tool of unscrupulous and reprobate elements in our society who are procured with monetary inducement to peddle blatant falsehood, tarnish the image of upright public officials and mislead unsuspecting Nigerians.

“The Vice President will of course not be distracted by these obvious campaigns of lies and calumny,’’ he said.

He said that the online publications, being criminally defamatory in nature, had been referred to the relevant law enforcement agencies for investigation and necessary action.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

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Economy

Era of post-harvest losses gone — Osinbajo

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Osinbajo said that improving the working and trading environment for small and medium sized businesses through shared facilities, MSMES clinics and other government interventions were critical parts of the Federal Government’s drive towards supporting MSMES in the country.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Monday in Abuja, said the Vice President, made the remark while performing the virtual inauguration and handing over of the 200,000-capacity Yam Storage Facility at the Zaki Biam International Yam Market in Benue State.

Osinbajo said that post harvest losses due to poor storage facilities for the nation’s agriculture produce would be a thing of the past if more storage and processing facilities like the new storage facility in Benue State were established around the country.

The 200,000-capacity Yam Storage Facility is part of the National MSMEs’ Shared Facility Scheme being implemented by the federal government under the National MSMEs Clinics put in place by the Buhari administration.

The Zaki Biam Yam market is said to account for about 70 per cent of yams cultivated in the country, with over 200 trucks loading 2 million tubers of yams weekly from the state renowned as the nation’s food basket.

“The market has had very little storage capacity and its infrastructural facilities are way behind its capacity and the size of commerce that goes on here daily.

“Besides, post harvest losses have been the bane of agricultural production in Nigeria: Nigeria produces 17 million tons of yam annually, but loses up to 40 per cent on account of inadequate storage and processing facilities

“Following discussions between the federal hovernment’s MSME Clinics project, the Benue State Government and market stakeholders, it was unanimously agreed that this 200,000 capacity Yam Storage Facility should be located right here in Zaki Biam, Benue State.”

The Vice President said that President Muhammadu Buhari was excited about the inauguration of the facility.

“A major concern for him has been that the COVID-19 crisis does not in any way disturb agriculture and the food supply chain.

“That we are able to commission this project in the midst of the pandemic is especially heart-warming for him.’’

The vice president explained the role of the federal government in the Shared Facilities project under the National MSMEs Clinics.

According to him, in 2016, the president asked him to chair an initiative called the MSME Clinics.

“The idea was to provide a meeting point in every state between regulatory or approving authorities (such as NAFDAC, SON, CAC, BOI, FIRS and small and medium scale businesses in every sstate.

“So, at such an event the MSMEs bring their problems and challenges to the regulatory authorities, and the authorities can offer on the spot services and advice to MSMEs.

“This includes advice on how to access credit facilities through the Bank of Industry (BOI).
“One
of the initiatives of the clinics was the idea of building Shared Facilities for the benefit of small businesses operating within clusters.

“This is because most individual businesses cannot on their own afford equipment necessary for their businesses.

Aside from the 2-units of warehouses with a combined capacity to store 200,000 tubers of yam in the Shared Facility in Benue, Osinbajo said that there was re-construction works going on.”

He cited the reconstruction of 660 units of stalls/sheds, construction of a police/market administrative building.

Moreso, construction of eight units of public toilets, provision of solar-powered borehole with an overhead tank, construction of internal roads with drainage and installation of solar street lights.”

Osinbajo commended the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, for his leadership and the solid support he had given to the project and congratulated him on the commissioning of the game changing project.

“I also commend and congratulate our MSME Clinic partners and everyone that has worked to make this possible,” he said.

The vice president added that that there were functioning shared facilities in Oyo and Bauchi States.

Virtually present at the commissioning from the National Assembly were Senator Gabriel Suswan and the Representative, Richard Gbande.

Also, in attendance were the Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Sabo Nanono; Special Duties Minister, Senator George Akume, among others.


Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Judiciary

Dongban-Mensem’s nomination: Lalong hails Buhari, Osinbajo

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Lalong, who spoke with State House correspondents after a private visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said he was elated to hear the news of the nomination.

He thanked God and commended the president and vice president for the nomination of Dongban-Mensem.

President Buhari, had sent the name of Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, Acting President, Court of Appeal to the Senate for confirmation as President, Court of Appeal.

Dongban-Mensem is a serving Justice of the Court of Appeal and was recommended, as is the practice, by the National Judicial Council(NJC) and her name forwarded to the president.

To me, I think she is qualified to be there by progression; this is the first time for the people of Plateau to have somebody from the judiciary getting to that level; I think, it is a thing of joy for the people of Plateau.

“I was elated when I heard yesterday that the president has nominated one of us from Plateau to that highest position.

“I must say the highest position because as far as I am concerned, nobody has reached that position in the judiciary from Plateau.

“This is the first time we are having it; so we send our gratitude to God and we are praying to God and also our gratitude to the president, the vice president and everybody who thought she was qualified to be in the National Assembly.’’

Lalong said that Dongban-Mensem was coming at a time when there were a lot of litigations.

He advised that, just like the Chief Justice of Nigeria, she had to do everything to restore the image of the judiciary.

According to Lalong,  Dongban-Mensem should be free, fair and do justice to people irrespective of political leanings, tribe or language.

The governor said that Plateau women were excited and appreciative of the president’s gesture, adding that women were getting adequate attention from the President Buhari’s administration.

“We had a woman as CJN; we had a woman who just left and we have another woman; that is to say the women are coming up; and we will continue to encourage them.

“I think it is a thing of joy to women in my state, all the women gathered yesterday and said they wanted to come and say thank you to the president.

“You can see how women are getting something in this administration, that is to say this administration has great emphasis for women.’’

On the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, Lalong said that his government was proactive.

“Without any incident, without any index case in Plateau, the way we moved in curtailing the virus gave us a lot of hope.

“What we did was to first of all look at it and when I saw Lagos; when I saw Abuja, I said definitely whether we like it or not, this thing will come to Plateau.

“ What we did was to begin to take proactive actions; first of all get the confidence of the civil servants; get the confident of the people.  You know when you want to lock people down you must also prepare for their stomach.

So, what I did was to ensure that all salaries were paid; that same week, I fumigated the whole state; after fumigation, I told the people that we were ready for action.’’

He said that Plateau started the lockdown without an index case as all the cases were imported from other states, while the state had recorded two deaths.

The governor said that he was among the governors that were selected by the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the vice president to give regular advice to the president on the ease of the lockdown.

So, today, I have to come down to brief our leader the vice president on what would happen and what we also think should be done to make the people happy.

“That is, instead of continuing to put stiff lockdown on people, we are now thinking on how to ease the lockdown just as we are doing in Plateau’’ he said.


Edited By: Obike Ukoh (NAN)

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Agriculture

Over 200 truck loads of yam go out of Zaki Biam market, every week – Osinbajo

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Osinbajo disclosed this on Tuesday in Zaki Biam, Ukum Local Government Area of Benue,  during an online inauguration of the newly-reconstructed Zaki-Biam International Yam Market and Yam Storage Facility.

News Agency of Nigeria) gathered that the storage facility had the capacity of storing over 200,000 yams.

The vice president said that over 70 per cent of  yams consumed in the country were cultivated by farmers in Ukum local government area of the state.

He assured Benue people that all the communities that were ravaged during the farmers/herders crisis would be rebuilt as earlier pledged by the Federal Government.

The vice president said that plans were still in the pipeline to rehabilitate all the ravaged communities across the country.

He commended Gov. Samuel Ortom for his supportive role and commitment to the project.

Earlier, Ortom said the Government and people of the state were grateful to Osinbajo and the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari for making the project a reality.

May I also place on record that as Chairman of the National Economic Council, you have made remarkable efforts toward reshaping the economy of the country.

“The programmes initiated under your leadership as chairman of the council are geared toward diversifying the economy.

“They are targeted at empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and enabling Nigerians to survive economically during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic,” he said.

He advised the federal government to take on the entire agriculture value chain during its green revolution programme.

“The process should take off from land preparation to improved seedlings, mechanised farming to harvesting and storage to processing and marketing.

“This alone can provide millions of jobs to our teeming youths.

“We equally appreciate the federal government  for the relative peace and security in Benue and the North Central geo-political zone through the activities of Operation Whirl Stroke and other security outfits.

“We are worried about the resurgence of armed  herdsmen attacks on Benue people especially in the rural areas. Between April and June this year, over 60 Benue people have been killed by herdsmen attacks  across the state,” he said.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Economy

Post COVID-19 economy stimulus: Osinbajo’s committee confers with NASS

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The virtual meeting, anchored from the Presidential Villa, was joined by the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and several other principal officers of the National Asembly.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande,  in a statement, said the ESC called the meeting to consult with the National Assembly before the committee’s report would be submitted to the President.

Osinbajo  praised members of the National Assembly, adding  that the President had always commended the good working relationship between the executive arm of the Federal Government and the current National Assembly.

He added that it was very clear that COVID-19 had presented the country with an enormous economic challenge and also an opportunity.

“This is why the ESC is interacting with the National Assembly,” he said.

Both the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives  welcomed the plan and commended the President and the Vice President for calling the meeting to enable the legislative arm to review the plan and make comments.

Principal officers of the National Assembly, members of the ESC alongside members of the National Assembly  attended the meeting.


Edited By: Obike Ukoh (NAN)

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