President Muhammadu Buhari extends his good wishes to President Xi Jinping and citizens of the People’s Republic of China during this trying time. China’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus have been exemplary, as well as the country’s collaboration with international agencies and other countries on the matter.
President Buhari notes that China has been exceptionally supportive of Nigeria and Africa, and even more so in recent years; therefore, it is important to let China know that Nigeria and her citizens are also standing by them during this outbreak. With all the efforts being put in, we know that it is only a matter of time before this nightmare passes.
President Buhari uses this opportunity to thank Nigerians for their hospitality towards the Chinese nationals in our midst, and for not letting the coronavirus outbreak create any disturbance or disrupt the peaceful coexistence between us and them.
He prays that God will comfort the Chinese and others who have already lost family members and loved ones to the disease.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
February 2, 2020
Forums reiterate commitment to Africa’s energy future
Emphasizing Africa’s Position on Natural Gas: The African Energy Chamber (AEC) and Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s (GECF) Collaboratively Commit to Africa’s Energy Future
With the GECF introducing a critical discussion on the role of natural gas at the 4th edition of the Workshop on the Promotion of Natural Gas Demand, African Energy Week in Cape Town will expand on dialogue, emphasizing the African position on energy transition and gas.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 30, 2021 — Global debate on natural gas and its place in the world’s future energy sector has taken the world by storm, with dialogue dominated by environmentalists calling for the sudden end to the utilization of the resource and developed countries favoring renewable energy investment and developments.
Yet, the African position within global dialogue is often negated, and the continent’s needs and resources rejected due to unilateral decisions to abandon fossil fuels.
With developed countries granted the opportunity to utilize natural resources to drive development, Africa should be allowed to do the same, and thus, while keeping in mind the current climate crisis, the continent and its stakeholders are committed to exploiting its significant natural gas resources to drive socio-economic growth in a clean, and increasingly sustainable way.
Speaking at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s (GECF) 4th edition of the Workshop on the Promotion of Natural Gas Demand on Wednesday the 29th of September, NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber outlined the African position on natural gas.
With the virtual workshop comprising a discussion on how natural gas can serve as a catalyst, not just for enhanced socio-economic growth, but for the global transition to cleaner sources of fuel, Ayuk emphasized the value of the resource for Africa, with natural gas serving as a key driver of the continent’s economic development.
Africa faces challenges that the developed world does not. With over 600 million people lacking access to electricity, and 900 million without access to clean cooking, the continent desperately requires accelerated energy sector growth to meet rising demand and lift millions out of poverty. Natural gas offers the best solution, with its considerably cleaner processes, increasing availability, and attainable technology positioning the resource as Africa’s saving grace.
“If Africa had discovered natural gas before crude oil, we would have been able to develop faster than we have already seen. We need to make our voices heard and they need to be heard now, tomorrow and in the future. We need to tell African stories about how gas will change our future and how it will change our continent. With 600 million plus people without access to electricity, energy poverty is real. It is not just a catch phrase,” stated Ayuk.
Meanwhile, with significant resources across the continent awaiting exploitation and development, Africa has the potential to establish energy security and independence for years to come, reducing the continent’s reliance on foreign aid and accelerating socio-economic growth. However, in order for the continent to realize national growth objectives, a collaborative and integrated approach to resource monetization is required, and both the GECF and the upcoming African Energy Week 2021 (AEW) in Cape Town recognize, and will promote this trend, driving Africa’s energy future.
“I think the GECF, with its focus and engagement, will not only shape GECF member states but the entire African continent and world at large. Gone are the days when we have to rely on aid in Africa. We have massive gas resources that can drive development and reshape our economies, and when we talk about a just transition, Africa needs gas,” continued Ayuk.
“The African continent is blessed with so many natural resources as well as great people – which is actually the most important part. Electricity is fundamental to how modern society and economies grow. We have two problems in Africa: the access problem and the availability problem. About 50% of African countries electricity output is 50% less than demand. With over 600 trillion cubic feet of proven natural reserves in Africa, this presents a clean option to address the continent’s power deficit,” stated Akinwole Omoboriowo II, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Genesis Energy Holding.
Within his keynote speech at the GECF workshop, Ayuk emphasized that the continent is positioning itself for enhanced natural gas-directed investment and development, establishing an enabling environment in response to increasing international pressures.
“We are making a lot of changes across the African continent. Nigeria, for example, has passed the Petroleum Industry Bill and despite taking 20 years, it is better late than never. The Bill will drive a lot of incentives and investment into natural gas in the country,” stated Ayuk.
Also speaking at the GECF workshop, Mr Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, provided further insight into Nigeria’s natural gas potential, emphasizing how the PIB is enhancing gas monetization and investment. According to Kyari, “Nigeria has over 200 trillion cubic feet of reserves and the PIB has opened Nigeria up to investments in natural gas. The regional market is huge, and Nigeria has a role to play, while paying attention to greenhouse gas emissions.”
By incentivizing natural gas developments, resource-rich nations are actively pursuing the creation of domestic gas markets, with the resource offering critical opportunities for economic, infrastructural, and social growth.
“Look at Mozambique. Mozambique has gone from nothing to potentially being the third largest natural gas producer in the world. How dare we look at them and tell them to leave it in the ground. What gas can do for Mozambique, as well as the 600 million without access in Africa is what we should be looking at. With natural gas, we see hope, especially with our young people. These young people will be able to work in a gas driven economy and find a hope and a future in Africa. Let us come back to reality, let us be driven by science and driven by hope that we can use our resources,” added Ayuk.
Emphasizing the role of natural gas in Africa, and providing African stakeholders with the opportunity to not only engage in, but drive the conversation on natural gas in Africa’s energy future, AEW 2021 is committed to driving energy sector growth as well as the transition to cleaner sources of fuel. With GECF Secretary General H.E. Yury Sentyurin coming to Cape Town in November to drive a strong discussion on the role of gas, both the AEC and GECF are reaffirming their commitment to Africa’s position in global dialogue.
“We need a strong commitment to curb greenhouse gas emissions. As Africans, we are connected to our environment. We have an obligation to our environment. The AEC is going to be a partner and stand shoulder to shoulder with [the GECF]. The GECF have not just talked to us, but they have talked with us, and this dialogue is going to bring us to a promised land with natural gas driving our future,” concluded Ayuk.
AEW 2021, in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy DMRE, is the AEC’s annual conference, exhibition and networking event. AEW 2021 unites African energy stakeholders with investors and international partners to drive industry growth and development and promote Africa as the destination for energy investments.
SERAP writes Buhari, seeks trial of high-profile corruption cases, details of missing files
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting him to “instruct Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to take immediate steps to expeditiously, diligently, effectively and fairly prosecute high-profile corruption cases, and to publish details of the whereabouts of allegedly missing case files, as well as the status of prosecution of all the cases being handled by his office.”
The organization said: “The high-profile corruption cases include 103 cases reportedly sent by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] in 2017, and the 15 allegedly missing case files sent by the now defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, [SPIP] in 2019 to Mr Malami.”
In the letter dated 26 September, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The authorities’ failure to diligently and expeditiously prosecute high profile corruption cases amounts to a fundamental breach of constitutional and international obligations. Continuing failure to prosecute these cases may create the perception of a deliberate effort to protect those considered to be very influential and powerful.”
According to the organization: “The fact that these cases have been pending for several years suggests that your government has not carried out its public, constitutional and international obligations, including the obligations to show that no one is above the law as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.”
The organization said: “Public interest demands that high-profile corruption cases are concluded within a reasonable time so that those guilty are punished and the innocent are set free. The rule of law and the preservation of democracy also require that the authorities duly proceed in accordance with the law against every high-profile person suspected of grand corruption, irrespective of where he/she is placed in the political hierarchy.”
The letter, copied to Mr Malami, read in part: “SERAP is seriously concerned about the apparent inertia by the authorities to diligently and expeditiously prosecute high-profile corruption cases. While many of these cases have been dragging before your assumption of office in May 2015, several of the cases have not satisfactorily progressed, contrary to Nigerians’ expectations.”
“Speedily, diligently, effectively and fairly prosecuting high-profile corruption cases would demonstrate your government’s commitment to enhance probity in public life and willingness to enforce accountability in public life. The basic postulate of the concept of equality: ‘Be you ever so high, the law is above you’, should be your government’s approach to high profile corruption cases.”
“Our requests are brought in the public interest, and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] particularly section 15, and Nigeria’s international obligations, including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, as well as the rule of law.”
“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in acting to ensure the diligent, expeditious and effective prosecution of longstanding high-profile corruption cases, including the 103 cases and the allegedly missing 15 case files of high-profile corruption suspects.”
“We would be grateful if your government begins to implement the recommended action and measures within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.”
“If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps being taken in this direction, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to pursue prosecution of these longstanding high-profile corruption cases to their logical conclusion, and to regularly report to Nigerians on the progress of prosecution.”
“People get frustrated in the system if the process of justice is not allowed to take its normal course, more so, when apparently deliberate attempts are made to subvert and delay the process.”
“There is a nexus between corruption at high places in public life and threats to the integrity, welfare, security and economy of the country, as well as the rule of law. There is therefore a clear need for an expeditious, diligent and effective prosecution of these cases, which have already been delayed for several years.”
“Expeditious prosecution of those suspected of grand corruption irrespective of the position and status of that person is imperative to retain public confidence in the ability and willingness of authorities to prevent and combat corruption.”
“According to our information, details of about 103 high-profile corruption cases being handled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] were reportedly made available in 2017 to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice upon request.”
“Further, the case files of 15 high-profile corruption suspects are allegedly missing. The missing files are among the 23 cases reportedly sent by the now defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, [SPIP] in 2019 to Mr Malami, and include some charges of fraud involving some former governors and senators, as well as non-declaration of assets and possession of foreign accounts cases.”
SERAP therefore urged President Buhari to instruct Mr Malami to:
- Explain why after several years these high-profile corruption cases have not been expeditiously, diligently, effectively and satisfactorily prosecuted to logical conclusion;
Take immediate and concrete steps to prosecute the cases in close cooperation and collaboration with appropriate anti-corruption agencies;
Publish details of the whereabouts of the allegedly missing 15 case files of high-profile individuals suspected of corruption, including the status of prosecution of the cases, as well as those of the 103 cases reportedly sent to Mr Malami;
Invite civil society groups and international community to monitor the prosecution of high-profile corruption cases, and to periodically report to Nigerians the status of their prosecution
“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2011, and article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the details of the whereabouts of allegedly missing 15 case files of high-profile individuals suspected of grand corruption, and the status of prosecution of the cases, as well as those of the 103 cases reportedly sent to Mr Malami.”
“Nigeria is collapsing forward” Femi Adesina tackles Obasanjo
*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity
In the past one week, those who think they own Nigeria, and their cohorts, have been making magisterial pronouncements on the state of the nation. What they couldn’t get through the ballot box in 2019, they are attempting to achieve through misinformation, disinformation, malevolence, false narrative, and outright malediction.
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, wants us to believe that the country is collapsing, and is now a basket case, with the economy and unity in tatters.
Fine. Nigeria has a lot of challenges. Insecurity. Insularity. Fallen economic fortunes. Rising costs. Huge unemployment. And many more. But are those the only things happening in the country? Not at all. It would be disingenuous, even deceitful to say so. And only the unwary, the undiscerning, would be fooled. And well, including those who choose deliberately to be fooled.
To the applause of ‘sour grapers’ in groups like Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Northern Elders Forum, PANDEF, and some others, Chief Obasanjo spoke, and called his country and its leadership all sorts of names. But am I impressed? No. These were people in the same boat before the 2019 presidential elections. They wanted President Muhammadu Buhari out of office for different personal reasons. But what did they get? A shellacking. Bloody noses, and they went away with their tails between their feet, like a beaten dog. Their boat capsized.
I remember that infamous letter of early 2018, a year before elections, from the professional letter writer. He directed the horse rider (read, President) to dismount, and allow another person to mount. The landlord of the country had spoken, and his word was law.
No sir! President Buhari politely told his former boss in the military. We went to the polls, and the people spoke in a loud voice. The landlord was ejected, thrown out into the cold.
That is why anything Chief Obasanjo says about this government cannot carry weight. It is not a case of accepting the message, and ignoring the messenger, as some people canvass. The jaundice of the messenger can taint and corrode the message, and render it unreliable.
And for the cheerleaders, the different groups Obasanjo spoke to, and who egged him on, they are no better. They all took positions before last year’s elections. They threw in their lots with Buhari’s closest challenger, Atiku Abubakar. They all got beaten together, black and blue. And for all of them, they don’t seem to realize that the elections have been won and lost. Till 2023. They remain in pre-election mode, forgetting that the train had long left the station.
Their strategy is simple. Say so much evil about Buhari and his government, paint him black, confuse and discourage Nigerians, paint the picture of a bleak future, till the people become forlorn and disconsolate. What they lost at the polls, they want to get through some other means, as if Nigerians were fools, incapable of independent reasoning.
The former President says the country is collapsing. I agree. Nigeria is collapsing forward. In diverse ways, under President Muhammadu Buhari, the collapse is in a forward trajectory, despite all the odds.
I love what Temitope Ajayi, a public affairs commentator, posted on Facebook earlier in the week. Under the title ‘When Nigeria Was Not A Failed State,’ he listed atrocious developments that occurred between 1999 and 2007, when Obasanjo was President. His Attorney General and Chief Law Officer of the country, Bola Ige, was murdered in cold blood. A serving Governor, Dr Chris Ngige, of Anambra State, was abducted, and thugs unleashed mayhem on Awka, the state capital, burning and looting for many days. Yet, not a word from the President. Nor any action to restore sanity.
Zaki Biam, in Benue State, and Odi, in Bayelsa, were leveled by soldiers on reprisal missions. Scores were murdered. In Plateau State, which had become killing fields, he called the state chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) a fool, a compound fool, adding, “CAN, my foot!” Today, that same man, Rev Yakubu Pam, has been appointed Executive Secretary of Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission by Buhari, a Muslim bigot, as they claim.
And more. In his eight years in office, roads collapsed, rail became history, Supreme Court judgments were subject to his personal interpretations, Governors were wantonly removed without due process, yet, Nigeria was not collapsing then.
Temitope Ajayi summed it up this way: “Under the man that is turning Nigeria to a failed state, as at today, work is going on at a frenetic pace on Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Alausa Toll Gate road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lagos-Abeokuta Express, Ikorodu-Sagamu, among others.
“A rail line from Lagos-Ibadan is at final stage of completion. Now that Nigeria is failing, it should be noted that all these projects are in South-West, the same place where the ‘savior’ who couldn’t save himself came from.
“I still struggle to understand the logic of this so-called failed country narrative under the leadership of a man who is doing what his predecessors failed to do, across the entire country, under the most challenging circumstances of low revenue since he took office.”
Thanks Temitope Ajayi, for being so succinct. You nailed it.
And Kurtis Adigba, lawyer, and another good Nigerian, who loves his country dearly, drove the nail further in. Also on Facebook, he posted this week: “For some people, Nigeria is good and doing well only when they are in control of things. They go about sowing seeds of discord and division, and turn round to talk about unity as if unity happens through division and not by coming together.”
Chief Obasanjo talked about the mismanagement of our diversity, saying it is leading to collapse. True? False. Nigeria, since 1914, had been an uneasy Federation. There is hate, mistrust, unkind thoughts, ill will, among the Federating units. If you meet him, kill him. If you can’t catch up with him, poison his footsteps. That had always been the relationship. One government after the other had always done its best to promote cohesion and amity, but hateful things Obasanjo and his collaborators have been saying for months and years divide the country further. They can’t sow the wind, and not expect to reap the whirlwind. When things suddenly go bust, and there’s murder and mayhem all over the place, they are often results of evil seeds of division and hate already sown.
I have concluded that unless Nigerians want this country to work, we would just continue to labor and labor. Government after government would do their bit, but as long as divisive, vitriolic comments continue, there would be no nation in the true sense of the word. Not even after President Buhari leaves office.
Adigba puts it this way: “The next President of Nigeria will face the same problem as President Buhari, if we don’t choose to do things differently and treat the country better. Right now, we see Nigeria as an opportunity, not a country to be nourished.”
Home truth. Nigerians are the greatest problem of Nigeria. We continue to harp on the negative, deliberately closing our eyes to positives. Nigeria is collapsing. Yes it is collapsing forward. Revolution in infrastructure. Roads, rail, bridges, airports, and many others. Corruption is being fought, with verifiable results, insurgency and criminality tackled robustly. The economy is being diversified, agriculture is working, we can feed ourselves. But for the enemies, the country is collapsing. Yes, collapsing forward.
Those who claim to love this country, and pretend to be the landlords, actually may love just themselves, and not the country. Otherwise, they would mind their language, knowing that things they say build up tension and animosity, which eventually boil over, leading to sorrow, tears and blood (dem regular trademark).
We must test and examine our ways, and decide whether we want our country to work or not. There are challenges, stiff ones. But they will be overcome, if we all team up, and eschew evil thoughts and words. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” (Psalm 122, verse 6).
May they prosper that love Nigeria, our own dear native land.
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