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Elections 2019: Osinbajo Writes Open Letter To Nigerians, Begs Citizens To Vote APC [ FULL TEXT]

Peter Okunoren

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday urged Nigerians to return the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.

He said though the postponement of 2019 Presidential and National Assembly polls came unexpected, the electorate must not discouraged.

This was contained in an open letter he wrote, titled “A time such as this!”.

Osinbajo thanked the people for their support in 2015 and appealed for more during Saturday’s pills.

The letter reads: “In the past weeks and over the course of my time in office, I have interacted with everyday Nigerians not only to give account of our stewardship, but also to listen. Across the length and breadth of our great country, I’ve seen and heard passionate Nigerians who work hard to earn a decent and dignified life.

Working closely with President Muhammadu Buhari, we have had the privilege to share our vision of a country where all Nigerians, regardless of tribe, class and background can aspire to a viable future and dignified existence. This belief is something that President Buhari has borne and demonstrated for decades as a soldier, public servant, candidate, and now, as President. Now more than ever before, we feel we are truly at the cusp of greatness.

In 2015, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), we undertook to tackle insecurity, corruption and an economy characterised by extremely deficient infrastructure and the sheer abundance of poverty.

Despite extenuating circumstances, we have worked hard to actualise our mission. A nation at war, we delivered on our commitment to secure our territorial integrity by liberating 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency.

We halted the march of the insurgents to Kaduna, Kano and Abuja where they had bombed churches, mosques, government buildings including the UN building and Police Headquarters in Abuja before 2015. Today the activities of insurgents and the new ISIS West Africa (ISWA) are largely restricted to Northern Borno.

I, like many other Nigerians, have believed, all of my life, that our nation has sufficient resources to provide a dignified existence for most of our citizens.

Our curse has been the character of leadership that has often advanced personal gain as the underlying motive for public service. I know that has changed since 2015 and many can see that as well. We are doing far much more with lesser resources than prior administrations.

Corruption is the singular reason why for many years before 2015, uncompleted or non-existent infrastructure littered the landscape just as poverty alleviation schemes were additional vehicles that enriched only a handful at the expense of a growing and aggrieved population. Inevitably, the inequality gap is the underlying cause of insecurity and social tension.

Over the last three and a half years, we have laid the foundations for a stable and prosperous country for our people. The nation’s wealth is now being invested in capital projects to expand infrastructure and connect people, goods and opportunities by rail, road and air.

We have introduced several measures to ease doing business in Nigeria, and also ensure that micro, small and medium businesses can access government services and loan facilities. We also took an unprecedented step towards creating a fairer and more equitable society by implementing Africa’s biggest social investment programme.
Through the National Social Investment Programme, we are providing direct support to over 13 million Nigerians who need it by giving relief and assistance to unemployed youth, our children, the weak and vulnerable as well as small and medium businesses. We are directly providing the majority of our people a path out of poverty.

We know that building a compassionate nation under the rubric of social justice, led by the Federal Government, is not only desirable to right-thinking Nigerians, but is a national imperative. This is why the Federal Government did not hesitate to support state governments with bailouts that enabled them to pay unpaid state workers, as well as taking on the responsibility of settling decades of unpaid pension liabilities to retirees of moribund federal enterprises.

While we continue to believe that the primary role of leadership is to advance good for the people of Nigeria, there are many challenges that still beset the nation. For decades, not much was done by way of focused human capital development.

Our priorities for the next four years, if elected, are set out in our Next Level Roadmap document. We believe that the gains in providing free meals for children in public primary schools must now be deepened with our plan to revamp education through a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM); prioritising digital literacy; retraining all teachers in primary and secondary schools, and also remodelling and equipping our classrooms.

Our Next Level Roadmap also outlines our plans for employment, skills development, health, power, agriculture, industrialisation, inclusion in governance, among others.

We are clear in our minds that many of the APC’s programmes are designed to give Nigerians a lift and make them successful. A lot of thought, rigorous analysis and governance experience went into the development of these programmes and we know that they are feasible once we put our mind to them.

We are running for a second term in office because we believe things will improve significantly than they currently are if we stay the course. We are faced with a choice to keep building a Nigeria where conscience drives the ship of state- making a break from a tainted past which widened the inequality gap. Our choices will shape us – our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focused government to move the agenda for our country forward.

The task of laying a foundation is hard and tedious work. It’s neither glamorous nor exciting for the builder or the observer. Yet without it, the pleasure of a completed building remains a dream. The Buhari administration has spent the last three and a half years laying the foundation. We are asking you to join in putting up the building over the next four years. May I respectfully request you to perform your civic responsibility by going out to vote and I’m confident that by the grace of Almighty God, we will all go to the next level of growth, prosperity and peace.

Let’s join hands to create a nation we can be proud of. God bless you.”

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Repentant Boko Haram Members Will Have Opportunity Of Schooling Abroad —— Senate Bill

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The proposed National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents (Boko Haram) in Nigeria’ will get its funding from the Universal Basic Education Commission and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, The PUNCH reports.

Other sources of funding include- donations, grants, annual subventions from the government and counterpart funding from the six North-East states of Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe. The details are included in the bill which was obtained by Punch on Thursday.

The controversial bill, which is officially known as ‘A Bill for the Establishment of the National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents in Nigeria and for Other Connected Purposes’, passed the first reading in the Senate on Thursday last week.

But few hours after the bill, which was sponsored by Senator representing Yobe East, Ibrahim Geideam, passed the first reading, it attracted angry reactions from the Chibok Community, which was attacked by the insurgents in 2014, and the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Also, the #BringBackOurGirls movement, which has been calling for the release of schoolgirls abducted from Chibok in 2014 by the insurgents, said the plan to set up the agency should be done concurrently with the rehabilitation of thousands of internally displaced persons.

But on Monday, Geidam, in an interview with journalists, defended the bill. He said many Boko Haram terrorists were willing to lay down their arms but were afraid of the consequences of their action. The senator explained that his bill was not meant to take care of insurgents captured by the security agencies because those ones would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Barely two days after the senator defended the controversial bill, 25 Boko Haram members and their wives, who surrendered to troops in Niger Republic, arrived in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Wednesday.

A copy of the bill on the agency for Boko Haram repentant terrorists, obtained by our correspondent, states that one per cent of TETFund and UBEC fund will be used in funding the agency for rehabilitating the terrorists. The agency will also be funded by 0.5 per cent of the federal allocation of the six North-East states. Reports says the TETFund obtains its funding from a compulsory two per cent profit tax that is paid by all registered companies to the Federal Government.

Section 10 of the controversial bill reads in part, “The agency shall establish and maintain a fund which will consist of initial take-off grant from the Federal Government; annual subvention from the government; states counterpart funding which will be deducted at source at 0.5 per cent of their statutory allocation; 1 per cent of the Education Tax Fund (TETFund) and UBEC fund.

According to the proposed law, the agency will also be funded by grants in aid, gift, testamentary dispositions, endowments and donations. The bill states that the proposed agency shall have a governing board which shall consist of the chairman who is to be appointed by the President in consultation with the National Assembly.

The governing council will also have one representative from each of the North-East states, one representative each of the stakeholders, three representatives of the impacted communities, one person from the Nigerian Army, air force, navy, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, all of whom must not be below the rank of lieutenant colonel.

The council will also include one representative each from the federal ministries of humanitarian affairs, finance, environment, petroleum resources, North-East Development Commission and the Local Content Board. As regards the powers of the proposed agency, the bill gives repentant terrorists the opportunity of receiving foreign education.

Section 5(m) reads in part, “(The agency shall) implement programmes geared towards the rehabilitation of beneficiaries, engage the services of offshore and Nigerian institutions in the pursuit of the educational needs of ex-agitators.” The proposed agency is expected to implement a comprehensive programme in the area of disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation and reintegration.

It will also coordinate efforts of relevant agencies, organisations and institutions towards the attainment of set objectives as regards job placement, internship and sustainable reintegration.

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BREAKING: Italian Infected With Coronavirus Visited Ogun State

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The Italian confirmed to have been infected with Coronavirus had also visited Ewekoro in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State this week.

But residents and visitors to the state have no reason to panic, the Commissioner for Health, Tomi Coker said on Friday morning.

Coker disclosed that the Italian visited a giant manufacturing company(name withheld) in the Ewekoro community, adding that the facility so visited has since been quarantined in accordance with the health safety standards.

The Commissioner, who abandoned her bed rest to attend to the public health emergency, while briefing the press, said the state has epidemiologists and Infectious Disease Consultant already handling the situation with support from the Lagos State Government and Federal Government.

She said efforts are in place to get in touch with people that have had contact with the established index case.

She advised the public to wash their hands regularly, cover their mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing and to report to the nearest public health center if they notice any sign of cold, cough and respiratory difficulty.

Details shortly…

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BREAKING: First Case Of Coronavirus Confirmed In Lagos

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The Ministry of Health in Lagos State has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 and reported it to the Federal Ministry of Health.

The case, which was confirmed on Thursday, is the first to be reported in Nigeria since the outbreak in China in January 2020.

The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on February 25 from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit.

He fell ill on February 26 and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing.

COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

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