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Majority of Nigerians are poor – Buhari tells new Ministers [Full text]

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President Muhammadu Buhari has told his Ministers designate that majority Nigerians are extremely poor.

President Buhari said this on Tuesday at the end of a two-day Presidential Retreat for designate and senior Government officials.

Here is the full text of the President’s speech:

After two days, we have come to the end of a successful retreat. However, you will agree that our work is just beginning.

These last two days have been very instructive for me personally, because I have had the opportunity to know many of you new Ministers-Designate better. I was also pleased to see that you have all equally enjoyed debating and deliberating on the various challenges before us over the next 4 years.

Ladies and Gentlemen, majority of our people are poor and are anxiously hoping for a better life. A Nigeria in which they do not have to worry about what they will eat, where they will live or if they can afford to pay for their children’s education or healthcare.

Our responsibility as leaders of this great country is to meet these basic needs for our people. As I mentioned yesterday, this Administration inherited many challenges from our predecessors to mention a few:

A country in which 18 local governments in the Northeast were under the control of Boko Haram

Decayed infrastructure in which our rail lines and roads had severely deteriorated;

A rent seeking economy that depended largely on oil revenues and imports

Significant unpaid pensions, subsidy debts, legacy contractor debts. I can go on and on.

In our first term, we laid the foundation to rebuild our country. We recaptured those 18 Local Governments previously held by Boko Haram, whose activities are now limited to sporadic attacks against soft targets.

Our investments in road and rail infrastructure are without precedent, and many of you can attest to this. We also focused on diversifying the economy from oil towards agriculture and industrialization.

Despite reduced revenues from oil and gas compared to past governments, we have broadly addressed many of the legacy debts they left behind.

Whilst we have obvious successes to celebrate, the challenges ahead are significant as you would have observed in detail over these two days. Nevertheless, from the quality of the deliberations, it is clear that solutions to our problems are well researched and have been well articulated.

We have discussed solutions relating to addressing Insecurity; Macroeconomic Stability; Agriculture and Food Security; Energy Security for Petroleum products and Electricity; Transportation and Critical Infrastructure; Industrialization and SME Development; Human Capital Development; Social Inclusion; Anti-Corruption; Housing Financing and Consumer Credit.

Public service is not easy work, and at times it can be thankless. I am therefore charging you all to see this opportunity to serve as an honour, to give your best to deliver on this mandate, for a more prosperous Nigeria, not for some, but for all Nigerians.

You will find that working collaboratively and purposefully will enable us to achieve quicker results, recognizing that four years is not a very long time. For the new Ministers, make sure you engage and benefit from the experience of the older Ministers and former Governors in the cabinet.

In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

I would like to thank the Office of the SGF for coordinating this successful Presidential Retreat. I would also like to thank the National Assembly leadership, the Party Chairman, Chairman of the Governors Forum, and resource firms, for the active engagements and contributions.

Once again, the challenges that lie ahead of us as a country are significant. But I have no doubt in your individual capacities and our collective patriotic commitment to deliver a better Nigeria for us, our children and a brighter future for all.

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Buhari

Pressure On Buhari To Sue South Africa For Xenophobic Attacks

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The federal government says it will not rule out any option in its response to xenophobic attacks against Nigerians by South Africa, The Guardian reports.

It stated this following the advice by a former External Affairs Minister and Professor of Political Science, Bolaji Akinyemi, urging the Nigerian government to take South Africa to the International Criminal Court of Justice.

The violence against Nigerians and other Africans in parts of South Africa had erupted on September 1, forcing the Nigerian government to evacuate its citizens from the country. Akinyemi accused the South African government of failing to protect Nigerians and making statements unbecoming of a responsible country.

According to him, Nigeria must sue because the attacks were in violation of Article 2, Paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. He said they also violated Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers.






He further accused South African authorities of sponsoring or condoning the attacks, noting that the stance of the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Naledi Pandor, amounted to Acrophobia.

He noted that statements by South African leaders such as Pandor, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and former Deputy Minister of Police Bongani Mkongi encouraged the latest attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals.

But former Commonwealth Secretary-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku said it would not be wise for Nigeria to approach the ICC on the matter, stressing: “The two countries have large mutual interests to protect for themselves and for Africa.”

He said the statement of apology by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday at the funeral of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Harare “should be welcomed and high-level diplomacy should now be employed by Nigeria to de-escalate the situation and make South Africa pay compensation”.






Anyaoku described the recurring aggression as provocative, given Nigeria’s role in ushering in non-racial democracy in South Africa and his (Anyaoku’s) seminal role as Commonwealth Secretary-General in the negotiations.

“It is very saddening,” he said, “to see the current xenophobic violence against Nigerians and other Africans legally residing and doing business in South Africa. But maturity and internal African solution must be brought to bear on the situation.”

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina and Special Adviser on Diaspora Abike Dabiri-Erewa said only the ministers of foreign affairs and information could comment on Akinyemi’s advice.“All matters relating to diplomatic moves or foreign affairs policies should be directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs,” Dabiri-Erewa said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama told The Guardian that Nigeria “cannot rule anything out for now” when asked if the country would sue South Africa. “We are still receiving reports from our High Commission and the Consulate General, evaluating them and weighing options,” Onyeama said.

Minister of Information Lai Mohammed had not replied to the inquiry sent to him at the time of filing this report.

Ramaphosa, meanwhile, has dispatched three special envoys to seven African countries to deliver messages of pan-African unity and solidarity following the attacks, said presidential spokesperson, Khusela Diko.






The envoys will reassure fellow African countries that South Africa is committed to the ideals of pan-African unity and solidarity. They will also reaffirm South Africa’s commitment to the rule of law, Diko said.

The envoys, according to him, will visit Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

They will brief governments in the countries about steps the South African government is taking to stop the attacks and hold the perpetrators to account.

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Catholic bishops send message to Buhari

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The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to further strengthen the peace and security of the nation.

Most. Rev. Augustine Akubeze, CBCN President, said this during the opening ceremony of the second plenary of CBCN in Abeokuta on Sunday at the Sacred Heart College Hall.

Akubeze said that it remained the duty of the government to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens and also ensure peace and effective security.

He said that adequate security of lives and properties would bring about peace and would eventually lead to sustainable development.

Akubuze also the Catholic Archbishop of Benin Archdiocese condemned the recent killings of some Catholic priests in some parts of the country.

“Only recently we heard of the burning of Rev. Fr. David Tanko of Jalingo Diocese to death and only recently we heard of the killing of a priest in Enugu Diocese”, NAN quoted him as saying.

“We Catholic priests and faithful must preach daily the message of peace and justice. It is part of the message of Christ. It is part of the mission of the church.

“As missionaries, we must be harbingers of justice and peace in our land.

“We are just interested in living our lives peacefully without any fear of being kidnapped for ransom or being driven from our home land.

“Every government that fails to protect the constitutional rights of her citizens has failed. The leaders of a country should ensure peace and security of his people,” he said.

Also, the Chairperson of the conference, Prof. Catherine Eromosele, decried the continued keeping hostage of Leah Sharibu.

Eromosele said that she had spent no less than 1,980 days in the custody of Boko Haram, and urged the Bishops to keep her matter land others abducted alive.

Eromosele appealed to the Catholic clerics to urge the Federal Government to do all that is possible to ensure their release without further delay.

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Association writes Buhari over new minimum wage

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The Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to expedite action on the full implementation of the National Minimum Wage.

SSAUTHRIAI made the call in a communique signed by its sectoral chairman, Felix Uwadiae and Secretary, Ademola Olajire, on Sunday.

While the Federal Government is proposing 9.5 per cent salary increase for employees on grade levels 07 to 14 and 5 per cent for those on grade levels 15 to 17, the organised labour is demanding 30 per cent increase for officers on grade levels 07 to 14 and 25 per cent increase for grade levels 15 to 17.

The communique reads, “The council-in-session appreciates Mr President for signing the new national minimum wage bill into law.

“However, the union shows its displeasure in the partial implementation of the new national minimum wage.

“SSAUTHRIAI, therefore, urges Mr President to expedite action in its full implementation.

“The President should urgently and personally intervene on the issue of the committee working out modalities for the implementation of the new national minimum wage for the workers to ensure its implementation.”

The union also appealed to Mr President to reconsider his decision to close the nation’s borders, as it has resulted in the astronomic increase in the prices of some staple foods like rice, beans, and groundnut oil, while the alternative local products are not readily available

“Where they exist, the prices have become prohibitive, due to the low quantity available.”

While sympathising with the Federal Government on the killings and abductions going in different parts of the country, the organisation demanded that government should “reorganise the nation’s security architecture in order to combat the security challenges to conform with the reality on ground.

“The issue of incessant killing, kidnappings, herdsmen attack, armed robbery, Boko Haram and other social vices has been on the increase in recent times in the country.

“While we sympathise with the family of those who lost their lives and others who are affected, we humbly plead with Mr President, to re-organise the nation’s security apparatus to conform with the reality on ground,” it added.

The union also expressed concerns that in spite of the judgment of the National Industrial Court delivered in September 2013 on the skipping of CONRAISS 10, the management of some research institutes were yet to comply.

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