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[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss government and the International Development Association on the return, monitoring and management of illegally-acquired assets confiscated by Switzerland and to be restituted to Nigeria.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.
The presidential spokesman said this followed the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He said the return of illegal assets would boost Buhari's administration’s anti-corruption drive and provide additional funds for critical infrastructure.
He said Buhari also signed the instrument of ratification of the agreement between the Federal government of Nigeria and the government of the Republic of Singapore for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital gains.
Adesina stated that with the execution of these instruments, Nigeria’s trade relations with Singapore and income therefrom were expected to rise.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria’s journey in the last three years has been a very turbulent one. The president said this at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday while inaugurating the National Food Security Council.
He said the country’s need for critical job creating sectors which had been ignored for decades was now beginning to yield results.
The president reeled out his administration's efforts towards addressing the situation.
He stated "We introduced the National Social Investment Programs targeting millions of Nigerians who are living from hand to mouth. We launched agricultural programs focusing on import substitution, job creation and rural development thereby bringing socio-economic transformation to the millions of citizens living in some of the most remote rural parts of our country.
"We commenced the long term Pollution Remediation Projects in the Niger Delta with the hope of restoring dignity and normalcy to the millions of Nigerians impacted by decades of pollution in their communities. Fishing and farming will resume once blighted areas are rehabilitated. We intensified our participation in the Lake Chad Basin Commission with the goal of reversing the shrinkage of the lake, which impacts the livelihoods of over 45 million farmers, herdsmen and fishermen in the LCBC countries."
"We issued the first ever green bond that will act as a catalyst for investments in renewable energy and afforestation projects. This was oversubscribed, sharing market confidence in the country and our government. We established the Agro Rangers Unit within the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to protect the billions of naira of investments recorded in Nigeria’s agricultural sector across the country.
"We continued to equip the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to fight maritime criminals such as pirates and sea robbers who adversely impact offshore and inland fishing activities in our waters. These programs and many more, have started yielding results and if sustained, will transform the lives of millions of Nigerians across the country."
President Buhari said his government was well aware that the full results would not be felt or seen overnight.
"The journey is long. It is therefore our collective duty to ensure the actual and potential positive impacts of these programs are sustained, improved and expanded," he said.
According him, a key mandate of the Food Security Council is to continuously assess and enhance these "infant, but impactful programs, thereby guaranteeing they achieve their full potential."
He said the government would also develop new programmes and projects that would protect and create more jobs in farming, fisheries, animal husbandry and forestry.
"As we all know, land is use for farming, grazing and forestry, Water is used for irrigation, livestock sustenance and fishing. Therefore, any strategy for land and water management must take into account the interconnectivity of all these key sectors to ensure equity and sustainability," he said.
He said his administration would also not lose sight of the other issues that would impact our food production ambitions such as population growth, urbanisation, industrialisation, rural infrastructure development and climate change.
"These factors will also stress and stretch our land and water resources. This means we must invest in research and development to enhance yields and outputs."
He said the government was also not insulated from global and regional events. "Accordingly we develop local programs, but not lose sight of events from a far and their impact on us.
"Specifically, issues such as smuggling and dumping, which is our responsibility to ensure we develop and enforce strategies to protect Nigeria from these illegal and unhealthy imports."
He noted that the National Food Council comprised governors representing the six geopolitical zones as they have similar eco climatic conditions.
He said the council was a platform to further enhance the collaboration between the federal and state governments, expressing optimism that "We shall share success stories and collaborate to address common threats."
Buhari said his administration would also engage key stakeholders representing the core sectors of the food value chain by holding regular consultations with investors, development partners, financiers, academia and Nigeria's friends and allies abroad.
"Our deliberations will look into all the issues and our decisions will be implementable and impactful. We shall stay focussed, first and foremost on securing our food requirements and employment for our people, especially the youths. We shall feed ourselves and build an inclusive Nigeria for ourselves and for future generation," he stated.
Addressing State House reporters after the inauguration, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin, said the challenges of terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and herdsmen-farmers clashes facing Nigwria had direct bearing on national food security.
He said the military needed to step up its operations to make the environment secure for farmers and herdsmen.
The National Food Security Council, which is chaired by the president, has Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu as vice chairman as well as the governors of Taraba, Plateau, Lagos, Ebonyi and Delta States as members.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno the Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development; Finance; Interior; Industry, Trade and Investment; Water Resources; Environment; and Budget and National Planning are also members.
Others are the Chief of Defence Staff; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; the Directors-General of the Department of State Services and the National Intelligence Agency as well as the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service.
He council's objectives include developing sustainable solutions to the farmers–herdsmen clashes; climate change and desertification and their impact on farmland; grazing areas and lakes, rivers and other water bodies; oil spillage and its impact on Niger Delta fishing communities; piracy and banditry; agricultural research institutions and extension services and the problem of smuggling.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari

[ Masterweb Reports ] - On Friday 23rd Mary 2018, over 40 of the 149 Nigerians deported from Libya came to The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos, Nigeria where they received the sum of N2.5m ($7,000) from Prophet T.B. Joshua.


One of them recounted his tortuous experiences while in Libya, which were then published on T.B. Joshua’s official Facebook page:
No one should have to see what Onyema Igwe saw. A scene forever emblazoned in his conscience. The height of human cruelty unfolding before his naked eyes. An unwilling accomplice to a heinous crime.
Almost 30 of them had embarked on the treacherous trail. The journey began in Kano State, Nigeria where the group were roughly transported at night to Agadez, Niger – regrettably renowned as the smuggling capital of Africa. Onyema, a spare-parts dealer from Imo State, spent his life-savings to fund a journey "to a better life" abroad. That fantasy was soon to be dealt a heavy blow.
Bundled "like sardines" into the back of a pick-up truck, Onyema held tightly onto a wooden pole fixed to the truck – the only item that stood between him and falling to certain death in the infamous Sahara Desert. "If you fall, no one will come back for you," the smuggler bluntly explained. Corpses littered the ground as the vehicle sped into the horizon, a somber sign of untold dangers lying ahead.
The driver suddenly ground to a halt at the outline of a stationary vehicle. Squinting through the sandy haze, the sight that met Onyema was brutally heartbreaking. 30 bodies strewn in the back of the vehicle. Men. Women. Children. Gone. "The vehicle had a fault," the driver muttered. "Once you run out of water, you can’t survive more than three days out here." A foul stench pervaded the atmosphere. The odour of death and decay.
Hastening their speed, the journey continued. Until tragedy struck in the most wretched of manners. Onyema knew one of the female travelers was pregnant – it was obvious to see – but no one knew the combination of heat and exhaustion would trigger premature labour. In the midst of the Sahara Desert, hurtling at breakneck speeds across dunes in an overcrowded vehicle, her screams pierced the night. She delivered a baby that day… but lost her own life. The stress and trauma were too much for her frail body to bear.
Their ‘guide’ was furious. "How could they allow such a lady on this trip," he fumed as another ‘passenger’ cradled the newly born in her arms. The gift of life mired by the snare of death. The trafficker rudely ordered the men out of the vehicle. "Dig a grave in the sand," he bellowed. Onyema joined the others. Rudely kicking the corpse of the deceased into the crudely created hole, no one could be prepared for the instruction that followed. "Throw the baby in as well!" Shock-tingled silence. No muscle moved. No eyelid bat. "I said, throw it!"
"The cries of that baby still wake me up at night," Onyema soberly recounted. "I was among those forced to use sand to cover the baby and her mother in that shallow grave." He finally reached Libya but never made it across the Mediterranean Ocean to Italy. "I was sold into slavery in Libya," he narrated. Forced to do work "meant for machines". Beaten. Tortured. Starved. Is this what he sold his life-savings for?
Languishing in a Libyan prison, Onyema was finally among those discovered by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and deported back to Nigeria. His first point of call was The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), alongside over 40 Nigerians repatriated from Libyan cells. On Friday 23rd March 2018, Prophet T.B. Joshua gave the group the sum of N2.5m ($7,000) to start their lives afresh back home.
Submitted by Tawia Acheampong ( Email: )

*Photo Caption - Libyan deportees with the N2.5m given to them by T.B. Joshua

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - The Federal Government has recovered N7.8 billion, $378 million and 27,800 pounds through its whistleblower policy. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said this on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents after the cabinet meeting.

She said that the government intended to institutionalize the whistleblower policy with a view to properly handling its increasing magnitude.
She said she also updated the council on the numbers of tips received, investigations dealt with and the types of monies recovered through the policy.
"I also reported that the whistleblower team has recently come back from a trip to the Uk. The United Kingdom government was giving us trainings on whistleblowing, how we should institutionalise it. The team spent sometime with revenue office in UK. They spent sometime in customs office and they took them through what they have been able to do.
"I will be bringing the memo to the council. One of the things it has achieved is prevention. When they get the tips, they use it to block avenues for leakage. We have had a significant number tips. So, we will be coming back to institutionalise whistleblowing as a structure. It has become central part of fighting corruption, giving us valuable information. Basically, whistleblowing is here to stay, giving us useful information," she said.
She said the FEC approved a three-year debt strategy to reduce Nigeria's reliance on short-time borrowing particularly treasury bills, 91 days treasury bills, "costing us 21% and moving from domestic borrowing into external borrowing.
"When we came in, what were owing was 84 per cent domestic and 16 per cent external borrowing. We have moved to 77:23 as a result of Eurobonds that we have done and refinancing of maturing obligations. Our terms of maturity was 7.15. We have now extended it to 11.25. That gives a little bit of room to allow the investment we have made in capital projects to filter into our tax system and allows us to manage the debt.
"What that means is reducing our cost of funds and reducing our interest cost because the cost of borrowing is much more less and in a planned manner and our average borrowing has reduced from 18% to about 14%. We are confident that as interest rates begin to ease, we will reduce our cost of borrowing even further."
The minister put the total capital busget released so far for 2017 at N1.248 trillion.
"l gave details of the big four areas and then others. So, Power, Works and Housing got N301.89 billion, defence 151.2 billion, Agriculture N119.9 bn, Transport N127.9 billion and other ares combined is N547.6 billion.
"We haven't closed yet. We are confident we will close the year roughly around where we closed last year. We will close around N1.3 trillion mark. So, our commitment to infrastructure spending remains very strong. That is what is going to drive growth of the economy. That is what is going to drive jobs," she added.
Adeosun also disclosed that the government saved N68 billion on personnel cost in 2017, saying this brought the aggregate savings on personnel cost since 2007 to N288 billion.
The minister said the savings would have gone unaccounted for, assuring that they would be spent on capital projects.
Adeosun noted that the savings were made despite the rise in personnel, including the employment of 10,000 by the Nigerian Police.
She said 511 ministries, departments and agencies had been captured under the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information, with staff count of 607,843.
"As at 20th March, 2018 the number of MDAs on IPPIS Payroll is 469 with 316,158 Staff Count with gross salary of N43,979,383,997.78 and 42 Police Commands and Formations paid on IPPIS Platform in February, 2018 with Staff Count of 291,685 and gross salary of N22,276,669,257.21.
"Staff of Para-Military Agencies (Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Prison Service and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps) enrolled to date is 100,822 for which a trial payroll of N11,456,278,859.00 have been sent for review and update for April, 2018 payroll," Adeosun said.
*Photo Caption - As seen.



[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday told the Federal Executive Council why he cancelled his trip to Kigali, Rwanda, for the signing of the agreement framework for the African Union Continental Free Trade Area.
Buhari said the AfCTA agreement has the capacity to hinder local entrepreneurship and encourage the dumping of finished goods in Nigeria.
The president also stated that Nigeria was yet to fully understand the eonomic and security implications of the agreement.
He, therefore, constituted a committee comprising the Ministers of Finance, Budget, Labour, Foreign Affairs, Science and Technology as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigerian Immigration Service to review the content of the AfCFTA proposals and look at its security implications.
The committee is to report to the council in two weeks.
Addressing State House reporters after the council meeting, presidential spokesman Mr Femi Adesina said "The explanation from the President which the FEC bought was that he would not want to agree to anything that would hinder local entrepreneurs. And on the surface, except if proven wrong, is that that agreement has the capacity to affect local entrepreneurship.
"Then he (Buhari) also said that anything that could encourage the dumping of finished goods in Nigeria was going to be contrary to our interest. So, it is one of the reasons while he declined. Then he said the country is yet to fully understand the Economic and security implications of the agreement."
"So, there has to be further consultations with different stakeholders and the final position was that a committee be set up to meet and review the contents of that proposal and they will do it within two weeks and get back to the Federal Executive Council."
"The committee which has two weeks to submit its report will be expected to look at the security implications of the agreement."
Last week, the FEC had last at a meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had resolved that Buhari should sign the AfCFTA agreement framework.
The president, however, canceled his scheduled trip on Sunday after some of his advance team members had arrived Kigali.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari

[ Masterweb Reports ] - The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the leadership of fugitive or missing Nnamdi Kanu has threatened to resume her campaign of civil disobedience if the court refuses to grant their leader's co-accused bail. 
In a statement issued Monday by Emma Powerful, IPOB spokesman he warned that failure to grant Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawusi, Bright Chimezie Ishinwa and Chidiebere Onwudiwe bail at their court hearing Tuesday would compel them to return to the streets again.
Powerful's statement read: "We hereby place the judiciary of Nigeria and the world at large on notice that less than 24 hours to the commencement of trial of those charged with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as co-conspirators in a plot to overthrow the government of Major General Muhammadu Buhari are still to be served an amended charge as ordered by the presiding judge Justice Binta Nyako at the last hearing over 4 weeks ago.
"This flagrant disregard of a court ruling is nothing new to this administration but it is particularly disheartening when the defendants have been in detention without trial for upwards of 3 years. In no other supposed democratic country will such blatant state sanctioned detention without trial be tolerated only in Nigeria. Why is it that something as routine as filing of charges against those accused of having committed a crime, is proving difficult for the attorney general and DSS in this instance? Is it because the men are innocent and deserve unreserved apology from the government and their freedom or is it because the government have lost its way and can longer proceed with the sham trial.
"Information reaching us now has it that Justice Binta Nyako has concluded plans with the office Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to postpone the court case between Nigerian government and Biafrans still held illicitly in Kuje prison, thereby subjecting and exposing these innocent Biafrans to inhumane and degrading treatment.
"Let it be known that this case has been in court close to 3 years now and counting as a result of unwarranted adjournment after adjournment, so as to be able to scout for evidence against these Biafrans and to jail them unjustly.
"We must resist this unjust move against Benjamin Mmadubugwu, David Nwawusi, Bright Chimezie Ishinwa, and Chidiebere Onwudiwe. This inhuman and inhumane treatment against these innocent Biafrans is disheartening and must be put to a halt by all men and women of good conscience the world over. The court, it is said, is the last hope of the common man, but here in Nigeria, the case is different. Judiciary is now a tool used by Nigerian government to punish those that have different beliefs and ideology as well as those they see as opposition to their hegemony and interests.
"Self determination is enshrined in the United Nations Charter of rights of indigenous people and African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which was ratified by Nigerian government and domesticated into the laws of Nigeria.
"Therefore, it is within the legitimate right of IPOB to agitate for self determination using the same law as provided by United Nations and African Union which Nigeria is a signatory to.
"We hereby call on all people of good conscience and lovers of freedom, equity and justice and indeed all Biafrans around the world to stand up and resist this travesty of justice and the continued illegal detention of these our brothers for close to 3 years now.
"Either they release our brothers tomorrow unconditionally or we Biafrans will intensify our campaign of civil disobedience on the streets of Biafraland and beyond. We have truly endured this injustice for far too long and enough is enough. We shall not allow this to continue unchallenged.
"IPOB is calling on Biafrans worldwide to get ready because we must compel Nigerian government to free our brothers, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawusi, Bright Chimezie Ishinwa, Chidiebere Onwudiwe and provide our leader they abducted on the 14th of September 2017. The incessant adjournment of this court case must be put to a stop tomorrow."
*Photo Caption - Nnamdi Kanu

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has admitted that many Nigerians, while returning from abroad, are often frustrated at the nation's airports; and others, at the seaports in bringing in goods. The vice president said this at the State House in Abuja on Monday at the sideline of the 7th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum.
"The point that was made especially about two people sitting together, questioning you and passing your passport from one person to the other, is what we are all generally irritated about," he said.
According to him, what is required is i-check "which is quite an elaborate device which enables us to get advance passenger information ahead of passengers arriving at the ports. This enables us to do two things; one, it enables us to give visas on arrival because you already have the information of the passenger.
"Secondly, it removes the necessity of more than one person checking the passport because you already have advance information, the other security person works from the backend. We expect that when that is installed, we would be able to achieve that and remove the nuisance of two/three people checking passports.
"Last week, we held a meeting with all the agencies that are usually at the ports, and you find that there are several of them. The idea is to reduce this number and ensure only those who must absolutely be there are there. There are some who don’t need to be there but rather be summoned when their services are required."
He said the permanent solution the government was proposing for bringing in and taking out goods from Nigeria's ports "is through our single window, the National Trading Platform."
Osinbajo said the government had gone very far with that "and we expect that should be on stream very shortly. We are at the point where this is going to FEC for a final approval."
He added: "With the single window, a lot of the stress will be greatly reduced, and with the appropriate scanners run by concessions with PPP arrangements, we should be able to achieve greater ease of coming into our ports and exporting goods from our ports."
*Photo Caption - Nigeria Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

[ Masterweb Reports: Balarabe Alkassim reports ] - Senator Ali Wakili who died Saturday in Abuja was buried in Abuja where he died early in the morning. The decision to bury him in Abuja according to reports, was that he had confided in some of his closest friends that, as a Muslim, he should be buried wherever he dies.
His friends and associates and family members who thronged his Bauchi GRA residence located on Kano road expressed displeasure about the decision to bury the late Senator in Abuja.
Minister of education, Mallam Adamu Adamu visited the late senator's residence in Bauchi and condole the family.
Speaking separately when they visited and condole late Senator Ali Wakili's family, some state executives of All Progressives Congress (APC) described the death as shocking and a loss to the party and the state.
Bauchi State APC deputy chairman, Muhammad A. Hassan Tilde, described Senator Wakili as a vibrant and fearless personality in and outside politics.
On his part, the party's Legal adviser, Barrister Lawal Ibrahim who also hails from the same local government area with senator Wakili said that he had lost a brother, who maintains close ties with people despite having differences.
On his part, the state secretary of the party said that the APC lost a strong member who provided a good representation to the people of Bauchi South senatorial district and Bauchi state.
Late Senator Ali Wakili was born in 1960 in Lere, Tafawa Balewa local government area of Bauchi State.
He had his primary education at Lere Primary School in 1972 and proceeded to Government Secondary School Damaturu in Yobe State where he obtained his Senior School Certificate.
He later enrolled into Bauchi College for Arts and Science in 1979.
Wakili attended Bayero University Kano where he obtained a Bachelors degree in Arts in1982.
He joined the Nigeria Customs Service after attending the Nigerian Customs Training School, Lagos in 1984.
He also attended a training at the Infantry Centre and School, Jaji in 1991 and he was a member of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studie, Kuru.
Late Senator Wakili retired as Comptroller of Customs.
He contested and won the Bauchi South Senatorial seat under the platform of the All Progressive Congress(APC) in the 2015 elections.
Ali Wakili contested for the Senate seat against former Bauchi State governor, Mallam Isah Yuguda who run on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP).
Before his defection to the APC, he contested for the bye election in 2009 on the platform of the PDP to replace Senator Bala Mohammed when he was made the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) after two years in the Senate.
The late Senator holds the traditional title of Fagachin Bauchi.
He was survived by two wives and 11 children.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - The Federal Government has said the sack of Rex Tillerson as American Secretary of State will not affect the relationship between Nigeria and the US. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this on Wednesday while addressing State House reporters after the cabinet meeting.
He said all that Tillerson said about Nigeria/US relations when he visited Nigeria on Monday reflected the position of America and President Donald Trump.
The minister stated: "Rex Tillerson sack won’t affect us because government is a continuum as we all know.
"When he came, it was the United States that was speaking and clearly, we expect that with every expectation that everything he has said as regards US/Nigeria relations reflects the position of the United States, reflects the position of the president of the United States, so we don’t see any change happening at all. "
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari and U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson in handshake at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Monday, March 12 during the visit of the later.

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Professor Charles Quaker Dokubo as the new Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for former Niger Delta militants. He replaced Brigadier-General Paul Boroh (Rtd).
According to a statement yesterday by the president’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, "Prof Dokubo is currently Director of Research and Studies at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. He holds a PhD in Strategic Studies from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom, and hails from Abonema, Akuku-Toru Local Government of Rivers State."
Adesina said the President directed the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno to carry out a full investigation into the activities of the Amnesty Programme from 2015 to date, "Especially allegations of financial impropriety and other acts that are allegedly detrimental to the objectives of the Presidential Amnesty Programme."
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari