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Tinubu To Buhari: Print More Naira Notes, Suspend VAT For Now

Gbemileke Ajayi

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All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, says Nigeria’s health care system cannot withstand a coronavirus pandemic on the scale of America and Europe.

He, therefore, called on the government and the citizens to do everything to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

Tinubu said this in a statement he wrote in commemoration of his 68th birthday on Friday.

The former Lagos State governor said, “The public health care systems of developed nations have been overwhelmed by this virus. They are running out of equipment and healthy doctors.

“Our public health care system is much smaller and less equipped than those in Europe and North America. We cannot afford to put undue pressure on our system because it cannot bear the great weight of a pandemic.

“Thus, it is incumbent on us to thoroughly implement and obey social safety and distancing techniques so that we halt the spread of the disease and keep hospitalisation to the barest possible minimum.”

Tinubu asked the Federal Government to print more naira notes to save the economy from collapse even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bite harder.

The APC chieftain said the United States Federal Reserve had printed more dollars bills to boost the economy.

He said Nigeria could also do the same.

Tinubu added, “Already, the price of oil has fallen to less than $30 a barrel. This will bring a dollar shortfall. This does not, however, necessitate a corresponding shortfall in public sector naira expenditures.

“The US controls dollar issuance. We control naira issuance as is our sovereign right. Just as America has used its sovereign right to issue its currency to stave off economic disaster, so too may Nigeria issue naira for the same purpose.”

Tinubu also asked the Federal Government to stop collection of the Value Added Tax immediately.

Recall that the government of the President, Maj.Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had last month increased VAT from five per cent to 7.5 per cent.

However, Tinubu said the government must reduce the sufferings of Nigerians by introducing tax cuts while the Central Bank of Nigeria must reduce interest rates

He wrote, “Government should announce a tax credit or partial tax reduction for companies or firms. VAT should be suspended for the next two to four months. This will help lower import costs and protect against shortages.

“We need to protect the people from food shortages and high prices. As such, we must quickly improve farm-to-market delivery of agricultural produce. Also, government should initiate a crash programme to decrease spoilage of agricultural produce by construction of storage facilities in local marketplaces in and around major cities and towns throughout the country.”

The APC leader asked all Nigerians to unite against the pandemic, adding that experience had shown that the virus neither respected social class, ethnicity nor religion.

He, therefore, said this was not the time to play politics.

Tinubu added, “The rich cannot bargain with the disease or pay it off. It neither reads bank account statements nor is it intimidated by them. The poor, likewise, are subject to it for it has no mercy nor cares about one’s prior or present hardships. Neither does it seem to study geography.

“Northerners and southerners are equally its prey. It will attack those who pray at the altar in the church as well as those who face the Qiblah when praying in the mosque. To corona, we are all the same. Thus, to fight corona, we must treat each other the same, as brothers and sisters in one national family under one Heaven. For we are of one blood; this crisis is a stark warning that we must begin to act in consonance with that common humanity.”

BIG STORY

[BREAKING] #EndSARS: Buhari Keeps Mum On Lekki Shooting In National Broadcast, Orders Nigerians To Discontinue Protest [FULL SPEECH]

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President Muhammadu Buhari did not make any comment about the shooting of protesters in Lekki, Lagos, during his to address the nation on the #EndSARS protests.

The address which lasted for 11 minutes was televised in a national broadcast on Thursday.

The President warned hoodlums who have hijacked the End SARS protest to cause mayhem across the country to stop.

Buhari issued the warning during his nationwide broadcast aimed at addressing the ongoing mayhem by hoodlums who have hijacked the protest.

The president also declared that Nigerians reserve the right to air their grievances via peaceful protests.

According to Buhari: “Fellow Nigerians,

“It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.

“I must warn those who have hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine and well-intended protest of some of our youths in parts of the country, against the excesses of some members of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

“On Monday 12th October, I acknowledged the genuine concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS.

“The choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and other enactments; but this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens, and the necessity to operate within the law.

“I, therefore, call on our youths to discontinue protest.”

FULL SPEECH BELOW:

ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE ENDSARS PROTESTS, 22ND OCTOBER, 2020

Fellow Nigerians,

It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.

2. I must warn those who have hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine, and well-intended protest of some of our youths in parts of the country, against the excesses of some members of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

3. On Monday 12th October, I acknowledged the genuine concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS.

4. The choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and other enactments; but this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens, and the necessity to operate within the law.

5. As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.

6. On approving the termination of SARS, I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.

7. Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.

8. The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalized; the sanctity of the Palace of a Peace Maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.

9. All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary. Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.

10. The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.

11. On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the wellbeing and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

12. Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society. These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:

a. paying three months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small – and medium – enterprises,
b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission,
c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans; and
d. guaranteeing a market for the products of traders.

13. These are in addition to many other initiatives such as;
a. Farmermoni,
b. Tradermoni,
c. Marketmoni,
d. N-Power,
e. N-Tech and
f. N-Agro.

14. No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.

15. With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force. The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards.

16. In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers.

17. Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.

18. We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.

19. We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens, are protected.

20. But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.

21. To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgment and making hasty pronouncements.

22. In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.

23. For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.

24. I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.

25. And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect. Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.

26. I would like to thank those state Governors, traditional and religious leaders who have appealed for calm and restraint. I also thank youth leaders who have restrained their followers from taking the law into their hands.

27. This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation.

Thank you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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BIG STORY

[BREAKING] Buhari To Address Nigerians At 7pm

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Following a detailed briefing by security chiefs on the current situation in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari will make a national broadcast Thursday, October 22, 2020, at 7 pm.

Television, radio, and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Radio Nigeria respectively for the broadcast.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 22, 2020

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BIG STORY

[BREAKING] #EndSARS: Buhari Coming Up With Solutions In Few Hours —- Monguno

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The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.), on Thursday said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), would come up with solutions to the current violence erupting in parts of the country “in the next couple of hours.”

Although he did not disclose the nature of the solutions, he said they would be agreeable to all parties concerned.

Monguno disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the National Security Council presided over by the President.

He said, “The President himself, I have just left his office, is also going to deal with these issues in a specific manner apart from what has just taken place in council.

“I believe in the next couple of hours, Mr President will come up with certain solutions that will be agreeable to the entire federation.”

The NSA also did not disclose whether the President will announce the solutions through a national broadcast.

Details later….

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