Despite Nigeria’s worsening economic crisis, elected leaders, especially governors across the states, still retain a large number of political aides, thereby ignoring calls for austerity measures, Sunday Vanguard has learnt.
No fewer than 5, 000 political aides were found to have been appointed by 22 state governors.
Apart from Commissioners, who are statutorily required to perform executive functions, governors retain a retinue of aides in sampled states.
This is despite ongoing conversations around the high cost of governance which have gained traction lately.
To the average Nigerian, the size of government at the state level is over-bloated and too much of a burden for the economy to carry.
Citizens across political divides are worried over the seemingly lackadaisical attitude of sub-governments to address the issue in line with the current economic realities.
The matter is worsened by the fact that most of the states, apart from being highly indebted, struggle to perform their financial obligations.
Some are notorious for owing salary arrears while others are indebted to pensioners.
For instance, the Debt Management Office, DMO, in May 2023, raised the alarm that 16 of the nation’s 36 states were threatened by N2.9 trillion debts.
It said the states’ borrowings comprise a total domestic debt of N2.2 trillion and $1.6 billion in external debt as of December 31, 2022.
Interestingly, one of the state governors in the last dispensation had about 38, 000 political aides.
According to then-governor whose state domestic debt stood at N176 billion and external debt totaled $215 million, the aides were appointed to fight poverty.
Though heavily indebted states do not fall under the category of those sampled by this report, the inference aims at highlighting how the governors appoint aides recklessly.
The political appointees include Special Advisers (SAs), Senior Special Assistants (SSAs), Special Assistants, Executive Assistants (EAs), Technical Advisers (TAs) and Assistants.
A breakdown shows that Bayelsa leads with more than 2, 000 aides while Imo’s 668 appointees make it the second highest.
Others include Yobe, 642, Akwa Ibom, 342, Kano, 202, Plateau, 136, Edo, 134, Niger, 131, Adamawa, 97, Enugu, 72, Ebonyi, 58, Abia, 52, Ondo, 45, Benue, 41, Osun, 40, Sokoto, 30, Kebbi, 30, Katsina, 28, Bauchi, 24, Ekiti, 10, Kaduna, 14, Ogun, 10 and Lagos, 6.
In Bauchi, Governor Bala Mohammed has 24 Commissioners, 20 SAs and four Special Assistants.
Governor Dapo Abiodun has so far appointed only 10 aides.
They include eight SAs, Chief Press Secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff.
He recently sent a list of eight Commissioner-nominees to the state House of Assembly.
The eight nominees have been screened by the lawmakers, but they are still working as SAs pending their swearing-in.
After the harmonisation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by leaders of the ruling party across Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki approved the appointments of 38 SSAs and 96 Special Assistants.
The appointees were drawn from nine local government areas across the state including Ikpoba-Okha, Owan East, Owan West, Orhionmwon, Ovia South-West, Akoko-Edo, Etsako-West, Etsako-Central and Etsako-East LGAs.
Governor of Kebbi State, Dr Nasir Gwandu, has so far appointed 30 aides and 26 Commissioners.
According to the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, eight new ministries have been created for equitable distribution of dividends of democracy in the state.
Idris said the 30 aides were part of plans by the governor to return governance to the people by incorporating the citizenry in decision-making.
To fulfill his campaign pledge of gender inclusiveness, Niger State governor, Umar Bago, appointed 131 women as Coordinators and SSA. They comprised 41 Coordinators and 90 SSAs.
Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State has appointed 23 Commissioners and one Special Adviser as members of his cabinet.
In July, he announced his decision to appoint one Personal Assistant, PA, from each of the 329 wards in the 31 Local Government Areas, LGAs, of the state.
Others appointed include Mr Essien Ndueso, SSA to the Governor on Research and Documentation, Dr Frank Ekpenyong, SSA to the Governor on ICT & Digital Services, and Morgan Ekanem, SSA on Public Affairs, Website & Multi-media streaming.
Eno also appointed Mr. Wilson Emmanuel Offiong as his Personal Assistant on Student Affairs, and Comrade Ubong Ikpe as his PA on Persons with Disabilities, PWDs.
In Adamawa State, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri appointed 47 media aides. This is besides the 50 Special Advisers that were approved for him by the State House of Assembly.
25 Commissioners were also sworn-in by the governor last month.
In Yobe State, Governor Mai Mala Buni approved the appointment of 523 SAs, 104 SSAs and 15 Liaison Officers. No fewer than 20 Commissioners were also appointed.
Rivers State Governor Siminalaye Fubara has only 14 Commissioners and has yet to make more appointments into key ministries.
A source in the Government House, Port Harcourt said the reason for the delay in appointing aides is not unconnected to concerns over recycling of aides in the state.
The immediate past governor of the state was widely criticized for appointing more than 2, 000 aides.
In Kano State, Governor Abba Yusuf appointed 45 SAs, 109 SSAs/SAs, four Personal Assistants, 44 Senior Special Reporters and Special Reporters.
The governor also has 19 Commissioners.
Katsina State governor, Dikko Umaru Radda, approved the appointment of 14 SAs.
Radda had earlier appointed Alhaji Saidu Ibrahim Danja as his Senior Special Assistant for Victims of Banditry and Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs. The total number of SSAs and SAs is 27 while there are 20 Commissioners.
Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State has so far appointed 22 SAs and Assistants.
He had earlier obtained approval from the State House of Assembly to appoint 50 more SAs. When that is done, the number would increase to 72.
Already, 17 Commissioners have been appointed from the 17 local governments areas of the state.
Sunday Vanguard learned that Abia State governor, Alex Otti, has 52 SAs and Assistants.
This is in addition to Commissioners representing all the LGAs in the state.
Governor of Ebonyi State, Francis Nwifuru, has so far appointed 41 SAs and SSAs.
He also appointed a Special Assistant on Security from each of the 14 LGAs of the state.
There are two Special Assistants for Airport Security. He also has an SSA on Streetlight.
In Benue, Governor Hyacinth Alia appointed 17 SSAs and 24 SAs. 17 Commissioners were also chosen.
In July, Kaduna State governor, Uba Sani, appointed Dr. Daniel Maigari, a former Commissioner for Agriculture, and Febian Okoye, a former aide to Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, a former governor of Sokoto State, along with 12 others, as SAs.
Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, appointed six SAs to serve in various capacities across ministries.
In addition, 37 Commissioners were sworn-in last week.
In July, Governor Ahmad Aliyu of Sokoto State appointed 25 SAs.
Earlier, he had appointed three SSAs and two SAs.
Political aides appointed by the Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Deputy Speaker and other principal officers are few compared to what is obtainable at the executive arm.
Checks at the state assembly revealed that the Speaker has a Chief of Staff and few other statutory aides like other principal officers.
But the state governor in particular has a legion of aides.
Appointments are made quite often and most of them are not announced or made public.
There are over 200 social media aides to the governor alone in addition to other aides.
In total, the number of political aides to the governor and his deputy is estimated to be over 2, 000 and still counting.
At an event to commemorate the 2023 World Social Media Day recently, the governor made two fresh appointments to add to the growing numbers of social media aides who are categorized into SSAs on New Media and SAs on New Media.
Meanwhile, some of the aides are said to have no clear-cut duties and responsibilities or offices.
Governor Douye Diri himself had, two years ago, declared that he had made close to 2, 000 political appointments since assuming office.
He made the declaration in September 2021 during a grand reception organised in his honour as well as Senator Seriake Dickson and the member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Fred Agbedi, in Sagbama, by the Bayelsa West Senatorial District chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The governor was speaking against the backdrop of grumblings over appointments.
He said: “Please, don’t divide the house (PDP); don’t divide our family. Our family has moved from the Restoration Government to the Prosperity Government. Don’t divide it.
“Sometimes I’m bothered when people say ‘I have not been given an appointment’. Wait, your turn will come. We have appointed close to 2,000 now, and we are still appointing. So, wait, your turn will come.
“Just because you don’t have an appointment, you want to divide our family. It will not work. Don’t divide our family, we will remain one. Rather, we will bring more people to our family and we have been doing it. They have been coming and we receive them with two hands.”
In Ekiti State, Sunday Vanguard learned that government is the only business as everybody wants to be involved in governance.
Statistics showed that Ekiti parades one of the highest numbers of civil servants and political appointees from state to ward levels in the South-West.
The state’s wage bill is between N2.5 billion and N2.6 billion monthly.
Recently, Governor Biodun Oyebanji forwarded the list of nominees that will constitute his cabinet to the state House of Assembly, comprising 21 Commissioner-nominees and 10 SAs for screening and confirmation.
The delay in appointing cabinet members, according to a source close to the governor, was deliberate to conserve resources.
However, Special Adviser, Media to Ekiti State Governor, Yinka Oyebode, said efforts are being made to reduce the cost of governance.
According to him, deliberate efforts are being made to block loopholes for waste through the use of technological innovation.
Oyebode noted that local contractors have been encouraged to ensure money circulates within the state as part of measures to cut cost of governance.
He went further to reveal that the number of Commissioners and SAs in the present administration was reduced drastically compared to what was obtainable in previous administrations.
His words: “Since the advent of this administration, we have made efforts to cut down the cost of governance as it reflects in different aspects of governance even in appointments.
“The number of Special Advisers has been drastically reduced from what it used to be.
The number of people who travel with the Governor has been reduced. We are deliberately cutting down the cost of governance. You will notice even our contracts are done through direct labour.
“Ekiti State governor has not bought new vehicles and he is moving from one ministry to the other, picking vehicles that have been condemned and fixing them. That is what we have been using now for the last nine months.
“The vehicle the governor is using was what he used as the Secretary to the State Government and the convoy is from the previous administration. All he did was fix them, even the Deputy Governor, wife of the governor, SSG and state officials are doing the same thing. We are deliberately cutting down the cost of governance.
“In the past, the governor had several Pas. Currently, he has just one P.A. Those are deliberate efforts. What he has done now is to merge offices, merge responsibilities to reduce cost of governance.
“Some governments have 36 and all that. He has also told them to use the little money they have to do the basic things and avoid spending money on frivolous things.
“Local government chairmen have been mandated to reduce the cost of governance. We have a committee set up to monitor and document local government projects. You cannot duplicate offices and it cuts across.’’
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State appointed 45 aides in his first term.
He has maintained the same number to date.
Sources said his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa, only appointed his Chief Press Secretary while other aides were seconded from the office of the governor.
Sunday Vanguard couldn’t ascertain the exact number of aides seconded to his office out of the 45 appointees of the governor.
Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Olamide Oladiji, has yet to publicly announce the appointment of his aides, but a source close to him said his appointees are no fewer than 15.
However, the Deputy Speaker, Abayomi Akinruntan, has 10 aides.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that, officially, the Speaker was expected to appoint only four aides and his deputy, three.
Although the Majority and Minority leaders in the House of Assembly have equally not publicly announced their aides, sources said they have no fewer than eight.
“Appointing more aides than required, is just to create jobs for the boys. Some do not even have defined duties,” a source said.
Osun State governor, Ademola Adeleke, pledged to work with a lean cabinet given the scarce resources of the state.
However, after appointing the statutory aides in the persons of the Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff and spokesperson, a retinue of media aides was also appointed.
The appointees, including domestic, media and others are about 40.
Adeleke also requested from the state House of Assembly 25 SAs to work with him. By the time the request is granted, the governor is likely to work with a 50-man cabinet.
Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, The Osun Masterminds, TOM, criticized the list of a 50-man cabinet, saying the state has no financial capacity to finance such a “big cabinet”.
Executive Director of the group, Professor Wasiu Oyedokun-Alli, said: “An important issue is the size of the intended cabinet.
“The 25 Commissioner-nominees meant government does not care about making the size of government lean to conserve resources and save the state from financial woes.
“One would expect that at this time in the history of governance in Nigeria, our dear state would reduce the cost of governance.
“CSOs are bothered just like many people over the size of government. Their salaries, allowances and other perks of office including official cars would incur huge expenses for Osun.
“It is also interesting to note that the same Governor Adeleke who sanctioned a staff audit to block leakage and improve the welfare of civil servants cannot avoid having 50 Commissioners and Special Advisers. Our State cannot afford such a financial burden.”
In a riposte, spokesperson for Adeleke, Olawale Rasheed, said: “It is too early to judge the administration over appointments. We will run one the most modest administrations.”
Osun is battling a backlog of workers’ salary arrears as well as pension and gratuity in the region of N70 billion among other inherited debts.
Kogi is one of the states with bloated bureaucracy. From the executive arm of government to the legislature, the state boasts of a retinue of aides for its leaders.
Apart from 21 Commissioners, Governor Yayaha Bello has more than 30 SAs.
Bello also appointed SSAs on Security Matters for each of the state 21 LGAs apart from several SSAs for other portfolios.
Following the inauguration of 247 Advisers recently by Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, the number of his political appointees has increased to about 668.
No fewer than 247 people were inaugurated on behalf of the governor by the Deputy Governor, Placid Njoku, at the Government House, Owerri.
Earlier, the governor had appointed 35 Commissioners as well as 18 SAs.
He later appointed 63 more SAs and SSAs. Last year, Uzodimma appointed 305 Liaison Officers at the 305 ward levels.
At the time of filing this report, the governor has about 668 appointees.
The Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Chike Olemgbe, on his part, has about 20 aides described as support staff.
Other members of the state House of Assembly have no fewer than two aides.
After what was considered an era of magnanimity in dishing out political appointments by the Willie Obiano administration in Anambra State, during which there were over 4, 000 political office holders in the state, his successor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, appears to have drastically slashed the number.
For instance, although the figure of political office holders is not readily available, the number of ministries has been reduced and the multiple SSAs and Special Assistants, as well as Executive Assistants, are not what they used to be.
During the previous administration, Education Ministry had two Commissioners – Tertiary and Basic, just as Works Ministry had the Ministry of Road Infrastructure in addition. Now, the Ministry of Education is one while Works is also one.
During the Obiano administration, most of the SSAs, Special Assistants and Executive Assistants had no functional offices, with many operating from outside the state.
It was common to see up to 10 political appointees attached to one ministry. Now, a few SAs and SSAs have specific functions in departments and agencies.
In Anambra, Commissioners are seen driving themselves while few SSAs, SAs and EAs complain that nothing much is coming to them yet. Some said the state is still in transition, but are optimistic things will normalise later.
An official of the state government, who pleaded anonymity, said the size of government is a deliberate cost saving measure by Soludo.
Plateau State governor, Caleb Mutfwang, approved the appointment of 136 Special Assistants with specific assignments to enable him deliver on his promises to the people.
The appointees spread across the 17 Local Government Areas, LGAs, of the state and eight was chosen from each LGA.
A statement by the Governor’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Gyang Bere, said their designations will be communicated to them in their respective Local Government Councils.
He said, “The appointees, whose names are listed below, are the first batch. They will assume their roles and responsibilities immediately. Their portfolios will however be communicated to them in their respective Local Government Councils.”
Some of the appointees are Dalyop Pin, Jemima Nyam, Patience Ufwalal, Dachomo Sunday, Shim Malau, Dabot Dung, Pam Nuhu, Samson Chuwang, Aaron Jamo, Gimbia Tahu, Yahaya Ibrahim, Atoyi Daniel, Katuk Ahamdu, Ughili Agaji, Ichi David and Sunday Wada.
Others are Mubarak Isa, Azong Auta, Linda Adeleye, Tele Mangs
Oghranduka Egheleakpo, Maureen Odilimuo, Zal James, Kachollom Moses, Golu Golwok’ah, Beatrice Gontur, Ruth Goma, Wuchir Gozumdang, Wubitwe Waptu, Bakomi Gotom and Joseph Simon.
At least 34 people were killed when a contraband fuel dump burst into flames in southern Benin Republic near the border with Nigeria, a government official said on Saturday.
“A serious fire occurred in the town of Seme Podji,” Interior Minister Alassane Seidou told reporters.
“Unfortunately we have 34 deaths including two babies. Their bodies are charred because the cause of the fire is smuggled fuel.”
The minister said another 20 people were being treated in hospital, including some in a serious condition.
Nigeria is a major oil and gas producer and fuel smuggling is common along its borders, especially when the government maintained a subsidy to keep petrol prices low.
The Yoruba Council of Elders has urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgent importance, create an enabling environment for the return of all involuntary exiles, who are victims of past draconian regimes.
The Yoruba elders said that those in exile include “the personages of Professor Banji Akintoye and Chief Sunday Igboho, who were harassed for advocating proper and dignified treatment of their law-abiding kinsmen”.
The elders spoke in a communique signed by YCE scribe, Elder Oladipo Oyewole and Publicity Secretary, Elder Niyi Ajibulu at the end of the council’s meeting of the Secretary-General and state secretaries which was held in Ado Ekiti made available to journalists on Saturday.
Oyewole and Ajibulu, who said YCE had been miffed about the degenerating level of acceptance of Yoruba language, culture and civilisation, said that the meeting also deliberated on the presentation of a book, ‘Yoruba Renaissance, Challenges and Prospects’
They described the book, written by Sir Egunjobi, a renowned educationist, as “a timely enunciation of Yoruba history and contemporary affairs which succinctly illuminates both recurring and emerging challenges and prospects to the Yoruba experience”.
They called on the Federal Government to reaffirm its responsibility to provide equal protection to all citizens and constituent groups in the country.
The Yoruba elders, who took exception to the action of the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, against some traditional rulers in Oyo State last week, said that the former president “should certainly apologise and make restitution”.
The elders stated, “The YCE takes exception to the humiliation recently meted out to various traditional rulers of Oyo State by Chief Obasanjo upon the claim of status as a former Head of State. This malfeasance constitutes a shameful affront to the dignity of Yoruba tradition and culture and thus stand condemned”.
Oyewole and Ajibulu stated that “to start with, the book presentation visits shall be made to the governors of the Yoruba states in due honour of their statuses as the chief executive officers of their various states.
According to them, the book, ‘Yoruba Renaissance, Challenges and Prospects’ “is a compendium of efforts made to ensure the enviable leadership position of the Yoruba in the ‘arrangement’ called Nigeria. It delves into many aspects of frontline activities (historical, social, economic, political (etc)”.
The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal is set to deliver judgment on Monday on the petitions filed by the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, and his counterpart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor.
The Justice Arum Ashom-led panel communicated this message to parties on Saturday.
Rhodes-Vivour and Jandor are challenging the return of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 18 governorship elections in Lagos State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On August 12, lawyers in the petitions adopted their final written addresses before the tribunal.
The Benue State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal affirming the election of Governor Hyacinth Alia of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP made this known hours after the tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the state capital, upheld Alia’s election and dismissed its petition for lack of merit.
In a statement Saturday by its state Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, the party said it would seek legal redress at the Court of Appeal.
The PDP said a review with its team of lawyers indicated that the judgment did not meet the requirements of substantive justice.
It further argued that the verdict was not in alignment with extant electoral laws, guidelines and regulations
The party said it has accordingly directed its lawyers to appeal the judgment at the Court of Appeal, Abuja within the timeframe specified by law.
The statement reads: “Benue State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejects the judgment passed by the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal dismissing the party’s petition and that of its Governorship Candidate, Engr. Titus Tyoapine Uba, challenging the return of Hyacinth Alia as Governor of the state at the 2023 elections.
“After a review of the judgment with its team of lawyers, PDP believes that it does not meet the requirements of substantive justice and is not in alignment with extant electoral laws, guidelines and regulations.
“The party has accordingly directed its lawyers to appeal the judgment at the Court of Appeal, Abuja within the timeframe specified by law.
“Our great party urges its teeming supporters across the state to be calm and of good cheer in the faith that though the walk to justice may be long, the goal of reclaiming the Governorship mandate will surely be achieved in the end.”
Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State has said he would rather prefer to serve a single term decorated with laudable feats than serve for eight years with nothing to show for it.
The governor stated this on Saturday at a press conference being part of the activities to commemorate the 36th anniversary of the creation of the State christened the ‘Land of Promise.’
Eno insisted that he would rather invest in life-changing projects and programmes for the teeming 7.9 million residents of the state than allow a few influential people to hold him captive.
He promised to invest massively in infrastructural facilities stressing rural development, adding that his administration is working with the local government chairmen to acquire 50 hectares of land in each council for agricultural purposes.
Eno said, “We are trying to ensure that my recurrent expenditure does not run at par with my capital expenditure. Whatever we save is to be put back in the rural areas. Every N500 million I save would give me a school, would give me a hospital.
“I prefer a good first term than a useless two-term. It is only when you account for four years well that you would be asked to go again. I’d rather put money in rural communities. My job is to ensure that the 7.9m people are satisfied. I discovered that almost everybody is waiting for the government.
“The challenge before us is to maintain the existing infrastructure. We lack a maintenance culture. That is why we seek to establish an asset management agency to help in the maintenance of our assets. We build new ones when we have to.
“We are working with the 31 Local Government chairmen on agricultural development. We will be using not less than 50 hectares of land per Local Government Area for farming.
“I am not perfect, but I promise that I will not deliberately launch this state into something we would regret. We will do our best.”
The Anambra State governor Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has increased the monthly running cost for public schools in the state from N10,000 to a minimum of N50,000 only.
Soludo disclosed this while holding an interactive session with Head Teachers and Principals of public schools in the state.
The governor also assured that there will be an upgrade in infrastructure in all public schools in the state in the coming weeks.
He called for more community involvement under the Public, Community, Private Partnership arrangement in the schools such as in engaging in quality assurance and club of patrons to better the quality of education in the schools.
The governor pointed out that his administration will come up with independent monitoring team for schools, as well as provide phone numbers for schools as a feedback mechanism.
He expressed optimism that his administration will eventually get to the point where text books for children in public schools will be free, stressing that the aim is to make education accessible to the poorest of the poor, mainstreaming public schools to become smart and the model.
Soludo stated that part of the goal is to end the era of “PTA” teachers in schools, reiterating that the prosperous homeland cannot be attained by creating the vicious circle of the widening difference between the quality of education received by children of the poor and that of the rich.
He said that the primary role of government is to provide qualitative education and stressed that the quality of education in the public schools appears to be the weakest, assuring that his administration intend to bring back the era of using education as an equaliser and ladder of opportunities.
David Umahi, the minister of works, says the proposed Abuja-Lagos highway will be completed in four years.
In a press conference on Saturday, the minister said driving from Lagos to Abuja will take 4 hours when the project is completed.
The minister of works said the construction of the Lagos-Abuja highway is going to take four years, and the road will be solely made with concrete, which is “cheaper than asphalt”.
At the press conference in Lagos, Umahi, flanked by Kenny Martins, the chairman of Advance Engineering Company – consortium in charge of the highway – said the project, a Public Private Partnership (PPP), would be solely funded by the consortium in charge.
He added that the federal government would only be in charge of supervision.
“When I first introduced this to the public, many doubting Thomases were saying ‘it is impossible, Lagos-Abuja that is done in 14 hours cannot be done in four and half hours’, that is the renewed hope of Mr President,” he said.
“The president has approved that I fast-track this project. This project is going to be two lanes, but each lane is going to be a two-carriage way and it is going to be 14 metres.
“The only carriageway that is equivalent to this is the third mainland bridge where each carriageway is 14 metres. It is going to be built on 275-millimeter thick concrete.”
Unahi also said the live-shelf design of the project will be 100 years, adding that it would also include a number of bridges and tolling points.
“We are not putting any kobo but we will assist them in every direction. I give kudos to Advance Engineering Company, I am very satisfied with their concept and what they have put in place.
“So, the next thing is to bring the business proposal so we can negotiate on what the cost of the project is going to be. Then they go to the ministry of finance and negotiate on the issue of their money.
“The good thing is that we are building this road on concrete so we can predict the cost of this project. In asphalt, you cannot predict the cost. The cost of asphalt roads changes every month.”
In addition, the minister explained that “concrete roads are more durable and cheaper than asphalt”. He also said he has given directives that “all ongoing projects that have not advanced up to 80 percent” should be completed using concrete.
The United States Department of State has cautioned American citizens about travelling to Nigeria due to various security concerns.
It made this known in its Travel advisory statement released recently which underscores the elevated risks associated with crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the presence of armed gangs in several areas of the country.
In the warning, specific locations are singled out as heightened risks: Borno, Yobe, Kogi, and northern Adamawa states are flagged for terrorism and kidnapping. Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states are noted for kidnapping.
Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers states (except for Port Harcourt) are highlighted for crime, kidnapping, and the presence of armed gangs.
The advisory also mentions that violent crimes, such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage-taking, roadside banditry, and rape, are common across the country.
Kidnappings for ransom are frequent, often targeting dual-national citizens and perceived affluent U.S. citizens visiting Nigeria.
Terrorist activities are a continued threat, with attacks targeting various locations where crowds gather, such as shopping centres, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, schools, government installations, and transportation hubs. Terrorist groups may collaborate with local gangs to expand their influence.
Additionally, parts of Southern Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta and Southeast regions, are affected by civil unrest and armed gangs.
Armed criminal activities, including kidnapping and assaults on Nigerian security forces, are prevalent in this area. Tensions between farming and herding communities in rural regions can also escalate into violence.
The U.S. government’s capacity to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens is limited in many parts of Nigeria due to security conditions.
According to the advisory for those who still choose to travel to Nigeria, the advisory recommends several precautions.
Such as carrying proper identification, including a U.S. passport with a current Nigerian visa if required. Staying vigilant, monitoring local media for updates, and being prepared to adjust plans.- as well as steering clear of participating in demonstrations and large political gatherings for safety reasons.
The House of Representatives has announced that it will return from its yearly break on September 26, 2023. This was stated in a letter sent to members on Friday by the Clerk of the House, Dr. Yahaya Danzaria.
After a plenary session on July 27, 2023, during which Speaker Tajudeen Abbas named the heads of the House’s standing committees, the 10th Assembly adjourned for a break.
A statement by the House spokesman and chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Akin Rotimi, Jr., noted, “The 10th Assembly has been very prolific and in about 100 days since inauguration has recorded a total of 470 bills passed first reading and four passed second reading. There have also been a total of 175 motions considered by the House so far.
“Despite the recess, the Green Chamber continued to function as various ad hoc committees continued to carry out their crucial mandates which have generated significant positive public interest. Honourable members also continued to carry out various constituency outreaches across the country.”
Speaking on some of the activities that would be attended to on resumption, he stated, “Some of the early developments expected on resumption is the conclusion of the work of all ad hoc committees and the submission of their reports for the consideration of the House, in line with the directive of the Speaker.
“It is also expected that the final draft of the Legislative Agenda developed by the ad hoc committee led by House Leader, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, will be considered and adopted by the House. The draft agenda was developed following extensive consultations with critical stakeholders.”
The spokesperson added that soon after resumption, it is anticipated that the membership of the standing committees would be announced and fully constituted.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas, has congratulated the newly elected leaders of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria.
President Bola Tinubu has established a humanitarian and poverty alleviation trust fund for the country.
Betta Edu, the minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, made the announcement on Friday at the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States.
Edu said 30 percent of the funding is expected to come from the federal government while the balance of 70 percnet is expected from donor agencies.
According to the minister, the fund would have several governing caders with a structure that would show accountability and transparency.
“Thirty percent of the funding expected in this trust fund will be coming from the government of Nigeria, and is expected that the rest of this funding comes from other nations, the United Nations, donor agencies, philanthropic individuals, private sector, who we want to bring fully into the space amongst other forms of innovative fundraising,” she said.
“The essence is for us to be able to adequately address the issues which we face on the ground as a matter of urgency.
“I’m sure we already know that the president declared a state of emergency on food security in Nigeria, he equally had a state of emergency on other things like humanitarian crisis and our ability to provide durable solutions.”
Edu said the government was counting on the support of the international community and development partners to provide adequate support in tackling poverty in Nigeria.
“And as we make plans to come in and address this need, what must be key at the back of our minds is providing durable solutions,” she added.
“We must be able to address education for these persons, we must be able to address their livelihood, we must be able to address their reintegration back into communities, we must be to address their resettlement, including the provision of proper shelter for them to stay in.
“We must be able to address their GPV needs amongst other things and we’re counting on your support.”
Edu said the number of persons affected by the humanitarian crisis in the country is expected to rise and asked concerned parties to act fast.
She added that the government is seeking urgent international support to address human and climate-induced displacement and poverty in the country.
Martin Griffiths, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, welcomed the initiative, saying it would take more than the efforts of the government to tackle humanitarian issues.</p
The World Bank has approved a new $700 million loan to bolster education and empowerment initiatives for adolescent girls in Nigeria.
The information was revealed in a statement that was posted on its website last Friday.
The fresh loan aims to offer extra financial resources to support the ongoing initiative named the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment.
The statement reads,
- “The World Bank approved additional financing of $700m for Nigeria to scale up the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment programme whose goal is to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted states.
- “The additional financing will scale up project activities from the current seven states to eleven additional states and increase the targeted beneficiaries to include out-of-school girls, those who are married, and those who have disabilities.”
Revealing further, It was noted that Nigeria is struggling with a substantial number of out-of-school children, with estimates ranging from 12 million to 15 million in the school-age group. Many of these children are concentrated in Northern Nigeria.
It was also noted that an estimated one million children were affected by increased insecurity around schools in 2020-2021.
The statement added, “In the seven AGILE programme implementing states – Borno, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, and Plateau – the number of girls in secondary schools has increased from about 900,000 to over 1.6 million.
- “Under the programme, over 5,000 classrooms have been renovated and over 250,000 eligible girls have received scholarships.
- “The AGILE programme has supported the construction and rehabilitation of WASH facilities in secondary schools and the installation of computers and solar panels which make attending school more convenient and conducive for both girls and boys. Life skills, systems strengthening, and advocacy are other key aspects of the program which address social norms impeding girls’ education.”
Furthermore, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, stated that “Closing the gender gaps in economic empowerment by ensuring girls have access to education and skills is key for Nigeria’s development and economic prosperity.
- “Nigeria’s working population will soon be one of the youngest and largest around the world, which means that investing in adolescent girls is imperative when addressing overall economic prospects and growth.”
The statement also highlighted that the financing would not only benefit girls but also extend its impact to more than 15 million students and other beneficiaries, encompassing teachers, administrators, families, communities, and staff within both existing and newly established schools.
The statement highlighted that the financing would not only benefit girls but also extend its impact to more than 15 million students and other beneficiaries, encompassing teachers, administrators, families, communities, and staff within both existing and newly established schools.
According to the statement, the newly established fund will extend the project’s coverage to 18 states, with the goal of enhancing education and healthcare outcomes for girls in Nigeria.
It is worth noting that this was the third loan facility approved under the administration of Bola Tinubu.
The first was approved on June 9, 2023, with a loan of $750m to boost Nigeria’s power sector.
The second was a loan of $500m to help Nigeria drive women’s empowerment and was approved on June 22, 2023.
Following the end of the two-day deadline initially given by the body to the Federal Government, the Nigeria Labour Union is yet to issue a definite statement on the proposed nationwide industrial action.
The union, which gave the FG a two-day ultimatum, has remained reticent on their next course of action.
An ultimatum lasting 21 days first was issued by the union concerning the delayed palliative distribution, with a potential indefinite labour strike looming if their demands go unmet.
The organized labour said all is set for a total shutdown of the economy, which would start at the expiration of the ultimatum on Friday (yesterday).
However, since the expiration of the deadline given, NLC has maintained an indecisive position by not issuing a definite statement on what the next course of action will be.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the NLC, Benjamin Upah, while featuring in a telephone interview on TVC, said that the news making the rounds that the congress was to commence an indefinite industrial action is fake.
According to Upah, NLC is yet to release any official statement on whether they will go on strike or not.
What FG is Saying
Earlier, the Federal Government allayed the fear of many Nigerians, emphasizing that the outcome of their meeting on Monday with the union was productive and there’s no reason why the union should go on strike.
- “I don’t think there is any problem. We don’t have any fears about some of the things they (labour) put on the table and also the suggestions and the package of the Federal Government,” the Minister of Labour, Simon Lalong, told State House Correspondents after a private meeting with Vice President Kashim Shettima, at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, Wednesday evening.
When asked on whether the union will follow through with the indefinite strike, Vice President Kashim Shettima, stated that there is no reason to be worried, as the government continues to engage NLC in a friendly manner.
- “As for me, I don’t think there is any problem. We have fully spent time with the Nigerian labour and the posture of the President too is towards the welfare and prosperity of workers.
- “We have no doubt and that’s why, in many of our meetings with them, we did not end up boxing ourselves. We hope that the best is going to come.
- “Don’t worry about that. That’s why I said it’s a friendly engagement we are having with them.”
President Kikwete rang the bell in honour of Global Health Commitments for Women’s Health and Women’s Cancers at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York City’s Times Square.
Here’s an excerpt from NASDAQ’s official website ahead of the bell-ringing ceremony by the Tanzanian President:
- “Global Health Leaders will announce Global Health Commitments for Women’s Health and Women’s Cancers at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York City’s Times Square.
- In honour of the occasion, President Kikwete of Tanzania, First Ladies and Health Ministers, and Global Health Leaders will officially ring The NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell.”
Based on available information, President Bola Tinubu is not the first African President to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ Stock Exchange.